There’s a new sheriff in town: Mal Reynolds.  Yeah, I don’t believe it either.  Your Major Spoilers review of Firefly #17 from BOOM! Studios awaits!


Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Lalit Kumar Sharma
Colorist: Francesco Segala
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3,99
Release Date: July 8, 2020

Previously in FireflyMal is torn between his loyalty to his crew and to his responsibilities as Sheriff. If he wants to run, he has to do it now, but Blue Sun has arrived in his sector, handing out new tech that is more curse than blessing. And that’s without going into the serial killer who has been leaving bodies all over town.


We open on the world called Boros, as Mal sets out to clean up the evidence of a crime committed by his compatriots Jayne, Kayle and Leonard.  His second in command, Boss Moon, isn’t happy about his actions, but even she isn’t too upset about money missing from the coffers of a giant corporate conglomerate.  Back at the homestead, he finds an agent of the Blue Sun corporation handing out new communicator devices, top-of-the-line tech full of spyware and surveillance software, making him realize that his friends are in danger.  Mal makes a run to find Inara on New Magistrar, warning her that she’s being targeted by the unknown armored assassin, only for her to realize that he’s already there.  The battle is quick and surprising, leaving the assassin on the run with disrupted armor and Mal hot on his trail.  Hooking up with his contacts from Blue Sun, Mal finds that the killer is working with Fan, the man giving out the communicators and calls in Blue Sun to report it.

He’s a little surprised when the Blue Sun operative murders Fan in cold blood, though.


It’s really hard to play in the world of Firefly/Serenity without either going over the same territory or introducing elements that don’t feel like they fit.  With so few canonical stories in play, it would be easy to break the suspension of disbelief, but Pak’s script fits perfectly.  Not only that, the elements of corporate espionage and late-stage space capitalism run amok all over the little people feels very apropos for 2020.  Mal acting as an officer of the law is the kind of brilliant inversion that makes for fun stories, but the real star of this issue is the art, giving readers the feel of really well-done, detailed colored pencil art and coloring.  The highlighting and texture are amazing, and even though it has elements of primitivism, there’s still a lot of emotion and expression in faces and body language.  The highly stylized nature of it also overrides any questions of likenesses (even though only Mal and Inara, of all the characters in this issue, have that problem), instead giving us the equivalent of a really well-designed animated adaptation, and I’m entirely here for it.


All in all, the beauty of the illustrations makes Firefly #17 a winner for me, but the story is also engaging and more than a little disturbing, keeping the balance of humor, pathos, action and drama that fans of the short-lived show and film enjoy, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  This series appeals to me as a fan, but would also be accessible to any science fiction aficionado looking for a a well-drawn read.

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Loving this art and the complex machinations of the story, especially how well it fits with the TV show and the movies.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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