‘Firefly: Bad Company #1’ - Comic Book Review

Last month, we closed out the first arc of BOOM! Studios’ relaunch of the Firefly series with a serious cliffhanger. Instead of steering us straight into some new, intergalactic shenanigans this month, BOOM! is launching its Firefly: Bad Company line, and its first issue focuses on our dear Mrs. Reynolds, “Saffron.” The issue explores Saffron’s mysterious past, and coming in at 40 whole pages, it feels pretty well paced and organic in its storytelling.

Writer Josh Lee Gordon certainly seems up to the task of tackling Saffron’s past – crafting a tale that, while not entirely original, gives Saffron her due as a complex character. Gordon manages to humanize her without stripping her of all her mystery. For one, we never learn her real name. While the origin story is in itself pretty intriguing stuff, the reader is reminded that Saffron is probably not the most reliable narrator of anything, especially anything to do with her identity. At the end of the day, who is Saffron? A drifter? A thief? A victim of circumstance? Or is she simply a survivor? Her challenge to the reader at the end, a callback to something her father said, underscores this: “Dad told me, don’t judge the parts… ‘Til you seen them come together. Well, now you’ve seen ‘em. Be my guest.”

Artwise, I was concerned that having three artists – Francesco Mortarino, Giuseppe Cafaro, and Moy R – working on the same project would result in an entirely schizophrenic mess of different styles. Instead, we get three distinct styles that capture different phases of Saffron’s life really nicely. The first bit has a more childlike feel to it, at times reminding me of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. The second bit has a more mature feel to it, as Saffron navigates young adulthood. The final bit captures the much more sensual adult Saffron that we know. All in all, while the three styles are quite distinct from each other, moving from one to the other didn’t feel jarring and that’s probably, in part, due to the cohesive color work of Gabriel Cassata, which seems to accommodate each style really well.

Final thoughts: Saffron was definitely an enigma that could have used a bit more context, and I’m glad that BOOM! gave her a convincing and poignant backstory. I found this super-sized issue to be a great read that placed the lead character squarely in the context of the fractured and morally corrupt world of Firefly. And, in the end, perhaps it’s worth noting that while Saffron is a product of that world, she isn’t the only type of product of hardship.

Creative Team: Josh Lee Gordon (writer), Francesco Mortarino, Giuseppe Cafaro, Moy R (artists), Gabriel Cassata (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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