Serenity: Those Left Behind & Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon

serenity-those-left-behindPenned by Whedon and Brett Matthews, who wrote several episodes of Firefly as well as Dark Horse’s final Angel comics series and the animated Chronicles of Riddick feature “Dark Fury,” Serenity follows a ship full of mercenaries, fugitives and one law-abiding prostitute in their pursuit for fast cash and a little peace along the fringes of space.

The ragtag crew of Serenity take on a scavanger mission with the hopes of earning enough dough to disappear for a while. Only too late do they realize the whole gig is orchestrated by an old enemy eager remake their aquanitance with the help of some covert-operatives known only as the Blue Gloves.

Artist Will Conrad (Marvel’s Elektra and Witches) and colorist Laura Martin (Astonishing X-Men and The Ultimates) paint a rough and wild world of adventure across a strange and dangerous universe, in this not-to-be-missed tale straight from the brain of pop-culture mastermind Joss Whedon!

serenity-better-daysSerenity: Better Days follows everyone’s favorite space cowboys in a thrilling, action-packed adventure, where Mal and his crew take on a heist that promises a big payoff. But when one of Serenity’s crew is taken captive and tortured, the gang must put their enduring differences aside and work together to save one of their own, even if it may mean losing the cash prize of a lifetime.

Joss Whedon returns to the world of his blockbuster film Serenity, reuniting with Brett Matthews and Will Conrad, his collaborators on the bestselling 2005 series Those Left Behind.

There aren’t many genre fans that won’t have heard of Firefly, the excellent sci-fi series by Joss Whedon that was cancelled after a mere 14 episodes – a travesty. A lot of people are in agreement that Firefly is one of the greatest shows ever to grace our screens, and as such you can pretty much apply the phrase: you can’t kill a good thing. After the cancellation of the show we were blessed with a big screen outing from the crew of the Serenity in a film by the same name, and after that we’ve been given two mini-series in the form of comics.

I’ve recently read the comics – Those Left Behind and Better Days – and I can honestly say that stories of Serenity and her crew is extremely well suited to this format and gives fans of the show that little bit more of what they love. What exactly is that? Well, more stories of the crew of Serenity for one. Both of these are set at some point between the end of the Firefly tv series and the Serenity movie, and all characters are aboard for some action in a couple of stories that feel very much like an episode of Firefly in a different format.

Those Left Behind is the first of the two comics and is a tale typical of Mal Reynolds and his crew. With information on a great stash of money left over from the wars given to the crew of Serenity they decide to head off and see if they can get their hands on it. However, as usual they find themselves double crossed and in a situation that requires more than subtlety to get out of.

Better Days is the second of the comic stories and allows the crew an the position of finding an unexpectedly large amount of money during a heist. They get to relax and we see some interesting visions of what each of the crew envisage they’ll be doing with the cash they have. But with an Alliance special ops leader on the trail of a Dust Devil, a terrorist left over from the war, Mal once again finds himself in a seemingly hopeless situation that requires the crew to get him out of.

Above all, these two comics are a continuation of the characters we know and love. It doesn’t matter that it’s in a different format, in fact the opposite – it’s great. While Joss Whedon has had some input into this I feel safe in the knowledge that something I love so much isn’t being thrown to the dogs for just anyone to have a go.

While the story aspect fills me with joy, the artwork makes my heart flutter. Seriously, it’s drop-dead-gorgeous. While you could probably read the comic in 15 minutes or so it’s well worth taking the extra time to savour the scenes depicted within the pages and see just how alive they can be. These guys have done a great job of bring the characters on screen to life on the page, and the one-page character pieces in Those Left Behind are the highlight of this.

I’m not a huge comic reader, but when I read something I have love for anyway in this format I can’t believe I don’t read more. I’m going to have to remedy that…

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