After a job goes wrong, the crew is left without its pay, and Inara is in need of getting to her own destination. Mal promises to get her where she needs to be, that is, until our old pal Badger pays the Serenity a visit with a job that would pay them handsomely. He tells them of the Battle of Sturges, the bloodiest battle in all of "The War." Apparently, the Battle of Sturges was fought for a boatload of cash, and that cash is still there waiting to be claimed. Convenient?
Of course, this is Firefly we're talking about, and no mission is as simple as that, especially when they have not only Lawrence Dobson on their tail (from the first episode played by Seinfeld's Ramon the Poolboy. Remember him?!) but also "The Blue Gloves!" The Blue Gloves were one of my favorite parts of the television series, so to see them back was a welcome addition. Also finding out that the gloves are actually all part of a one-piece suit that covers their entire upper torso was shocking to say the least. The Blue Gloves strike a deal with Dobson to find the Serenity. They want River and Simon while Dobson wants revenge on Mal for taking his right eye and leaving him for dead.
Taking on this mission means Mal has to go back on his word to Inara. Book steps up on Inara's behalf and tries to convince Mal to carry out his word, but Mal, being Mal, starts lecturing Book, which leads to an awesome moment of Book punching Mal square in the jaw. Wow . . .
Dobson plans an ambush for Mal, Jayne, and Zoe while the Blue Gloves try and infiltrate the Serenity. River has one of her classic "freak outs," which tips off the crew still on board that the Blue Gloves are coming and they easily dispose of them. I was kind of put off by this. I was expecting a bad a-- confrontation between the Blue Gloves and River and Simon (given how they left things in the show), but all we get is Simon sneaking behind one of them and knocking him back down into his ship with a barbell. Huh? That's all? Dobson doesn't fair much better as his ambush backfires and Mal takes out his other eye before killing him dead.
As the book was nearing the conclusion, I felt that there was so much more they could have done, that they had just scratched the surface. That is, until they drop Inara off at her destination. Book mentions it's about time he leaves the ship, and we see members of The Alliance speaking with The Operative about River and Simon.
Ohhhhhh, it's a prequel to Serenity! I get it now! Alright, well in that case, I got exactly what I needed. A nice little tale that gives us a bit of back story between the events of the Firefly series and Serenity the movie. All-in-all it was an enjoyable read with beautiful artwork and some nice extras packed in at the end, like concept art and A Brief History of the Universe. Plus, the story is written by the man himself, Joss Whedon, so of course it's going to be great.
So, do I recommend picking up Serenity: Those Left Behind? You're Gorram right I do!