Firefly #5 // Review
Lee Garbett’s cover art for Firefly #5 shows Captain Malcolm Reynolds in uniform from the war before the events of the TV series, standing triumphantly amid the rubble and some corpses after a battle. The image is a pretty good likeness of Nathan Fillion, the actor who originated the character of Mal, and the time period it depicts is one that’s been largely unexplored in comics based on the Firefly/Serenity franchise. Unfortunately, it also has almost nothing to do with the contents of the comic.
This issue continues the storyline of the Firefly crew and their adventures among the religious zealots on a backwater planet. The last issue, Mal was taken prisoner by an Alliance soldier rounding up war criminals, and that continues to be his situation at the moment, while the rest of the crew works to escape their situation and hopefully find and rescue him, taking on a new temporary crew member (and love interest for Kaylee) along the way.
Greg Pak is a good writer. His work on properties like Hulk and Superman and others has been consistently good. He’s hamstrung, however, by the setup of this book. By placing this story at some unknown time before the Serenity film, none of the intriguing situations he sets up have any bite--we know Mal will eventually reunite with his crew, because he has to; we know Kaylee won’t wind up permanently romantically involved with this new character, because we’ve seen her relationship with Simon play out. And so the issue ends with what could be an exciting cliffhanger, a new problem for the crew to handle, but we already know that they feel it.
As in previous issues, Dan McDaid’s storytelling (with inks by Anthony Fowler Jr.) is clear, if not terribly exciting. Colorist Marcelo Costa does strong work, particularly in a flashback to Mal’s time as a Browncoat (a flashback that is nothing like the triumphant image on the cover). Jim Campbell’s lettering, like the rest of the art, is clear and stays out of the way of the art.
Boom! Studios is known for its compelling, risky takes with licensed properties like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, the Boom! magic doesn’t extend to Firefly, and that’s a gorram shame.