Everybody knows you can’t take the sky from Mal Reynolds, but do you know WHY?  Your Major Spoilers review of Firefly #1 awaits!


Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Dan McDaid
Colorist: Marcelo Costa
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 14, 2018

Previously in FireflyCaptain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, a defeated soldier who opposed the unification of the planets by the totalitarian governed Alliance, will undertake any job-legal or not-to stay afloat and keep his crew fed. Find out now how his story began, how he met his first mate Zoe and the real truth about the War of Unification, the intergalactic civil war that divided friend and family alike…


We open with a tense conversation between Mal, the Captain of ‘Serenity’ and his pilot, Wash about whether or not the ship is on fire.  Spoilers: It is.  The presence of Wash should clue fans into the fact that this book takes place in the relative past of these characters, well before the events of their film outing.  Unfortunately, the fire leads to a need to eject part of one of the engines which leads to the need to find a place to land and repair.  Before any of that can occur, ‘Serenity’ is fired upon by an Alliance Army heavy cruiser, a ship which should not exist, since the war between the Alliance and the Independents is in the past.  Forcing to make an emergency landing, Mal and his crew seek out a way to make money, ending up getting hired by a group of religious pilgrims as their hired muscle.  Things get more complicated when a rival religious group attacks, forcing Jayne to respond with violence, only to have their employers complain about it being non-lethal violence.  As they cope with yet another weird gig, the crew of ‘Serenity’ receives a transmission from the ship that shot them down, announcing that they’re seeking two war criminals: Mal Reynolds and Zoe Alleyne!


The first thing that struck me about Firefly #1 was on the first page, which felt like a fully-painted splash of Serenity in space (with one engine on fire), really excellent work from McDaid.  His art is expressive while being more than a little bit impressionistic, without close facial resemblances to the actors, but still recognizably the characters.  That’s a difficult balance to pull off, but the issue handles it well, especially in the depictions of Kaylee and Book.  I’m interested in seeing more of this story, but it does feel a little bit familiar based on the episodes of the series, with the Alliance once again hunting down Mal based on his separatist past.  Then again, it has been more than 15 years since the series and 12 since the film, so Pak’s decision to SHOW rather than tell us about the central conflict of the group is a smart one.  I also understand the decision to set this book before the film, with the entire crew assembled rather than in the post-film continuity that we saw in the book’s run at Dark Horse Comics.


In short, Firefly #1 takes a smart tack of reintroducing the characters in mid-disaster, capturing the tone and dialogue of the cult TV series with a fresh take on the art, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  As someone who has seen every episode multiple times, it feels a little familiar, but that may be the strength of this book for potential new readers and McDaid’s art does a good job of showing off the grimy, wild west future of the 26th Century.


Works Quite Well

Reintroduces the entire cast, the premise and the world of Firefly with a bang, setting up an interesting plot for this new arc.

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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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