‘Firefly #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Issue #4 brings BOOM! Studios’ first arc in the relaunched Firefly series to a close, and it’s a doozy. If your head was spinning from all the backstabbing and double-crossing that’s been playing out in the last three issues, you will probably need to sit down for this one, because, you guessed it, our beloved scoundrels are in for more of that. Last time we were with the big damn heroes, Wash, Book, Jayne, and Inara were at the mercy of the pilgrims they were escorting to their shrine. Big surprise, these pilgrims aren’t all that peaceful (if their previous calls for blood didn’t tip you off), and half the Serenity crew is about to be offered up to Ba’akalal the Nightbringer. Meanwhile, Simon and River were captured by Boss Moon and her unificators, and Mal and Zoe were left cutting a deal to save the rest of the crew. Questionable morality is definitely one of the themes of the Firefly title, and it’s front and center here with seemingly honorable people being shady and an honorable antagonist, just to muddy the waters more.

Greg Pak writes this world like he was born to do it, capturing the grit and rough-and-tumble community perfectly. I’ve particularly loved the banter between Wash and Zoe, but the other voices sound just like they did on the show, too. This first arc has the same almost madcap pacing as some of the episodes, which doesn’t leave much room for character development for most of the characters, with the majority of page space dedicated to Mal and Zoe confronting some dark specters of their past. Personally, I’d like to see some more development for Simon, Inara, and Kaylee; they seem to be the ones who’ve been developed the least. There’ll be time enough for that in the future as the crew deals with the aftermath of the cliffhanger ending. Minor quibble about the writing: I wish they had kept the Chinese cussin’.

Dan McDaid’s work took me a bit to get used to, but it’s definitely grown on me. His style captures that well-worn rough trade aesthetic of the ‘Verse. Marcelo Costa’s colors are vibrant and beautiful and really bring the pages to life. I will admit that I tend to overlook the contributions of letterers, but Jim Campbell’s work on this book actually gave me pause to marvel at how effectively he conveys tone and asides.

BOOM!’s rebranding of the franchise title back to Firefly (following Dark Horse’s excellent Serenity series) initially upset me. I really dug the direction that Dark Horse was taking the ‘Verse and was enjoying some of the character development, too. Going back to the Firefly days seems pretty low stakes as we at least know where these characters will eventually land, but so far, the ride’s been good, so I’ll keep reading.


Creative Team: Greg Pak (writer), Dan McDaid (artist), Marcelo Costa (colorist), Jim Campbell (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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