There have been a handful of “Serenity” comics published over the years, but none of them ever seemed like more than an average media-tie in… which is to say, they were unremarkable. Media-tie ins that are excellent seem to be the exception rather than the rule, so it’s always a relief when one starts firing on all cylinders. That’s the case with “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind,” which is finally a “Serenity” comic that I’d recommend to fans of the film and the “Firefly” television series. It’s not perfect, but “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind” #2 feels like a proper sequel to the film.
Whedon’s script for “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind” #2 is one that has some proper plot movement, propelling these characters’ story ahead. Let’s face it, most “Serenity” fans want to know what happens next, and Whedon gives everyone just that. Some characters are imprisoned, others marked as traitors, and of course Jubal Early (having returned in the previous issue) is once more showing himself to be a proper threat for the crew. It’s a mixture of old and new, and it’s moving along at a nice clip.
There are some bits and pieces that of course feel a little too convenient, like River going into her self-imposed 12-hour coma literally seconds before everything bad starts happening, but at the same time it’s forgivable. It allows the rest of the plot to move ahead, and it puts all the characters in a precarious position that they otherwise might have avoided (and ended up with a very short mini-series). So there’s a bit of a groan from the reader when that happens, but something which one can move past very quickly.
Jeanty’s art used to be best known for his strong likenesses in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” comics, so it’s a little ironic that I think his likenesses of the “Serenity” cast is the weakest part of his art here. Malcolm Reynolds actually looks doe-eyed at the bottom of page six, for instance; it’s such a soft and feminine drawing that it doesn’t feel like this is supposed to be the same character, even with similar physical characteristics. Inara also feels very off with most of the drawings involving her; she’s got a very old, sharp face now, one that makes you feel like the gap between the film and the comic was 20 years, not a matter of months. On the other hand, the moments where likenesses aren’t required are Jeanty’s best. Early landing on the ship in his full-body suit feels very lithe and dangerous, a catlike grace for the situation. The Paquin Asteroid Mining Operation also looks great, with the strange cube form of the machinery that’s crushing the asteroids coming across as visually intriguing. It has a real sense of wonder in that spread, and for a book set in outer space, that’s something I’d like to see invoked a little more often.
“Serenity: Leaves on the Wind” #2 feels like a comic that is delivering to its fans exactly what they need. If you’d tried the “Serenity” comics before and found them not to your liking, come back for one more try. I think you’ll find this is probably more up your alley.