Here’s how it is — in a universe filled with hearts and minds as cold and dark as the reaches of space, one small Firefly-class starship named Serenity takes its ragtag crew of mercenaries, outlaws, and fugitives in search of a job, any job, that’ll earn them enough cash to afford that most elusive commodity — peace.
Everything Firefly related is automatically brilliant. Am I biased? Darn right. But at least I am also consistent.
I squeed when I got my hands on this graphic novel. Like every other Firefly fan, I have a gaping, sucking hole in my soul which should have been filled by 7 complete seasons of this incredible and unjustly cancelled show. Forget Buffy, forget Avengers *derisive snort*, Firefly is Whedon’s masterpiece and if you disagree, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet I will end you.
🐯 The Story
Those We Left Behind takes place somewhere after Firefly and before Serenity. Because these comics were made after Serenity, there can’t be too much character development – otherwise it would throw off Serenity. So instead, it has an arc which would fit very neatly as an extra episode in the original series. It’s full of juicy character interactions and wonderful gags, but the story itself is fairly throwaway.
However, that’s not necessarily a problem! There’s lots of swashbuckling, lots of bad luck, lots of dastardly Alliance 混蛋，and lots of skin-of-your-teeth getaways. There’s lots of Jayne grumping, Zoe badass-ing, Kaylee adorable-ing, Wash goofing, and Mal brooding over his massive boner for Inara and refusing to admit it because he is a SLUT SHAMING, UN-FEMINIST MANCHILD. Grow up Mal, it’s 29837928347293 not 2002! (Love you Mal. Please marry me and steal all my stuff.)
Basically, this graphic novel is Firefly crack. A sweet, short rush of everything you want and expect, which leaves you drained afterwards because you STILL. WANT. MORE.
🐯 Gorgeous Inks
The inks and colours in Those We Left Behind are fantastic. The faces of the characters are unmistakably those of the actors who play them in the show, which is A) impressive from an art perspective, and B) gratifying, because it immerses you fully back into the world of Firefly. I personally think it should go without saying that artistic adaptations of films and TV should actually LOOK LIKE who they’re supposed to be, but hey, it definitely doesn’t always happen.
A lot of thought and detail has gone into larger panels, and some sequences showing expanses of space debris and flash backs to the Unification War are particularly moving. Props to Will Conrad on the inks! Laura Martin has done a great job on the colours, so that schemes shift subtly between scenes, but stick to that gorgeous, melancholy base palette of earthy orange and metallic blue which for me perfectly encapsulates Firefly.
🐯 SUOYOU de Zhongwen!!!
有人看懂了吗？可能有。对不起先生们，我的中文不好。我的意思是，这张杂志有真么多汉字呢！有理，因为Firefly的宇宙是我们宇宙远远的未来。已经在我们的时代，中国权力稳步的进步，中国稳步扩大自己的 ‘cultural capital’. 以我来看，将来我们西人肯定都能以中文和英文一起为 ‘普通话’！可是ThoseLeftBehind用繁体字！狗屎！呆呆的老外我， 我看不懂繁体字！！！然而，我还是喜欢读。我觉得中文的辱骂好玩。草泥马！你妈是一个仓鼠也是你爸闻起来像接骨木。
I stuck my awful Chinese into google translate, and this is what came out…
Has anyone understood it? Might have. Sorry gentlemen, my Chinese is not good. I mean, this magazine has so many Chinese characters! Reasonable, because the universe of Firefly is the far future of our universe. Already in our time, China’s power has progressed steadily, and China has steadily expanded its ‘cultural capital’. In my opinion, in the future, we Westerners will certainly be able to use Chinese and English together as ‘Mandarin’! But ThoseLeftBehind uses traditional characters! Shit! A dull foreigner, I can’t read traditional Chinese characters! ! ! However, I still like to read. I think Chinese insults are fun. Grass mud horse! Your mom is a hamster and your dad smells like elderberry.
Let’s be honest, Nathan Fillion could shit in a bucket and I’d still rate it 11/10 fan content. Therefore, my inevitable five tigers rating is somewhat sketchy. But don’t take my word for it, if you’re a Firefly fan I’d highly recommend picking up this little package of goodness. I’ll certainly be trying to get my grubby hands on the other five official graphic novel tie-ins!
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What’s your favourite graphic novel movie tie-in?