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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Serenity - Better Days

Script: Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews
Art: Will Conrad
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Pencils: Michael Heisler
Publisher: Dark Horse

It's chasing us.
Is something ever not?

What's it about?
From the introductory blurb:

"After the earth was used up we found a new solar system, and hundreds of new earths were terra-formed and colonized.  The central planets formed the alliance and decided all the planets had to join in their rule.  There was some disagreement on that point.  After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edge of the system, far from Alliance control.  Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it.  A Captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying."

This is a Joss Whedon creation and like the other Serenity collection reviewed earlier, this is set between the end of the TV show Firefly and the feature film Serenity.  It's about a crew of nine reprobates that have found themselves thrown together, looking for work at the back end of the galaxy.  This book sees them taking on yet another job and inadvertently discovering riches beyond imaginings.  Of course, complications are just around the corner.

In fitting with the Western in Space theme this book is full of fights, action sequences and thievery, unexpected windfalls and equally unexpected losses.

What's good about it?
Do you like your action kicks?  Does the sight of exploding machinery please you?  Do you want thrills and tough ladies?  Unbalanced gun wielding country boys? Sophistication and plain talking?  Well then, you've come to the right place. The characters of Firefly are wonderful.  All are charismatic, in their own peculiar way.

Zoe, and her history int he war, has the focus of a lot of this series.  As a woman completely comfortable in her own skin and totally sure of herself this is a great thing.  She is a delight to read.  Not to say that the others don't get their moments to shine - River, a slight little waif like creature gets in a good kick or two, and Jayne as ever is gets gun happy.   One of the joys of this series was in seeing the dreams and hopes of all the crew members - it's not what you'd expect!

What's bad about it?
This is most definitely a book for fans of the TV show or film.  If you're familiar with the big and little screen versions of this universe, this collection would be a good gateway into comics.  If you are not familiar with the background story you may not find this the most accessible of books.  Unlike Those Left Behind this doesn't break down the individual characters so much and some prior knowledge is needed.  Additionally the same race issues (related to the use of Asian language and culture) are still there. 

What's the art like?
As with Those Left Behind all characters are recognise able as the actors from the TV show and film.  What is worth noting is the colour used throughout the book.  Whole pages are coloured and designed in a small range of tones and shades, all taken from the same part of the colour spectrum.  This results in a heady and glorious mix of varying impressions and fully three dimensional scenes.

It's enticing.

Other Information
Price: £7.50
ISBN: 1595821627

You can read inside the first few pages of the book at Amazon here.  This reveals an introduction by Adam Baldwin who played Jayne and the first 2 pages of the comic.