Firefly #6 // Review
The biggest strength of the Firefly/Serenity franchise has always been its characters. The format of the television show meant that we almost always learned who they were and grew to love them based on their interactions with each other. It’s a smart move, then, that the Boom! Studios Firefly comic has begun separating them. By the end of issue #6, Mal, Zoe, and Jayne are each off on separate adventures. Because the series takes place around the edges of the TV show, we know that they will eventually reunite, but in the meantime, the series has finally managed a way for us to learn something new about these beloved characters.
This issue picks up immediately where the previous left off, resolving that issue’s cliffhanger ending with an unexpected reversal. Kaylee finally gets the ship up and running, Zoe heads out to rescue Mal with a group of Browncoat veterans, and the Serenity crew manage to get Jayne arrested. Mal Reynolds finally reaches a truce with his captor, the series’ sympathetic antagonist Boss Moon. And we finally learn what happened in the flashbacks to Mal and Zoe’s time in the war that have been repeating since the first issue.
As writer Greg Pak gets more and more comfortable with these characters and their voices as the series progresses, his reliance on artificial Whedonesque “cleverness” wanes. He does a great job showing character through action this issue. A particular highlight of the chapter is Mal’s phone conversation with Boss Moon’s mother.
Dan McDaid’s art (with an inks assist this issue from Vincenzo Federici) remains loose and scratchy, a good match for the western pastiche that has always been Firefly’s hallmark. Colorist Marcelo Costa and letterer Jim Campbell do great work conveying atmosphere.
Boom! Studios’ take on Firefly has been hit-or-miss, and many of the issues that plague the title as a whole are still on display here, but issue #6 is a substantial step forward for the series. Here’s hoping that Pak and McDaid can maintain the momentum moving forward.