Looks like rebellion runs in the Reynolds family… Your Major Spoilers review of Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 awaits!
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Davide Gianfelice and George Kambadais
Colorist: Joana LaFuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: January 8, 2020
Previously in Firefly: Mal Reynolds has turned himself in to the Alliance…but it turns out its not him they want. The infamous Ma Reynolds is at the top of the Alliance’s Most Wanted, and if Mal doesn’t get to her first, the Alliance will!
“I ONLY SHOT HIM A *LITTLE*…”
We open on Planet Shadow, some twenty years in the past, as a young Mal Reynolds tries to bring in his family’s herd in the midst of a terrific flood. Mal makes a misstep and is nearly swept away, but his Ma, Maude, catches him at the last moment, calls him a moron, and barks for him to be more careful. Cut the present where Mal, having turned himself over to the authorities on New Magistrar, is offered a plea deal: Bring in Maude Reynolds for her crimes, and avoid 20 years to life in interstellar prison. He agrees, teaming up with the cyborg Boss Moon to take down his mom (and intentionally turning down help from Inara and the crew of Serenity.) His attempts to find her are intercut with flashbacks to his childhood, with both setting showing off the abusive nature of his relationship with his outlaw mom. After she escapes him one more time, she tells him that she’s going to rob the Farmer’s Exchange on the moon called Karma, and offers to let him catch her and take her in from there.
That’s how Mal gets arrested for conspiracy to rob the Farmer’s Exchange…
THE SECRETS OF CAPTAIN REYNOLDS’ UPBRINGING
BOOM! Studios’ ‘Firefly’ comics are pretty remarkable, expanding and exploring the future around Serenity in unexpected, but still fit with the tone and established continuity. Finding out that Mal lived an itinerate, hard-scrabble life with a stubborn, emotionally-distant mother makes perfect sense, informing his relationships, his leadership style and the tendency to take in strays and take on lost causes dating back the first moments of the first episode of the show. The new additions, like cyborg Boss Moon, all fit perfectly with what we know, allowing the western parts of “Space Western” to stay ascendant, while expanding the space part. The art is likewise well-suited to expanding that aesthetic, with wooden buildings as well-drawn as complex spacecraft. Mal and Maude’s expressions are key to making this story work, and you can see his conflict and her guilt in every page, and the bewilderment on his face on the final page, as he is named the new Sheriff, is both wonderful and terrifying.
BOTTOM LINE: HEARTBREAKING, WITH AN UNEXPECTED ENDING
In short, Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 (and this entire series) are fleshing out the world of Serenity far beyond the thirteen episodes and a movie and doing so in ways that fit perfectly into the puzzle, with strong art and a truly messed-up mother/son relationship at its core, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. I lost track of the ongoing Firefly book, but this issue has me wanting to catch up and follow it going forward.
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FIREFLY: THE OUTLAW MA REYNOLDS #1
It's not easy to read about what made Mal Reynolds the man he is today, but it makes for a pretty great story and sets up a potential long-running foe. The art is quite good, as well.