Serenity Vol 1: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad
Sometimes movie tie-in comics lean too much toward directly copying the actors who portrayed the roles, and end up looking creepy, because it's not realism but it's not quite traditional comic either. Serenity: Those Left Behind hit a nice balance between the two. The characters evoked their on-screen counterparts but the art was still pretty, unique, and not too realistic. Win! The spaceships and space-battles, especially, were quite well-done.
The point of this volume (series? I believe there are to be more) is apparently to fill in some of gaps that exist between Firefly (the tv show) and Serenity (the movie). For example, Shepherd's reasons for leaving the ship, and the disappearance of the Hands of Blue. It was really cool to learn the answers to some of these questions, but I was a little disappointed in the Hands of Blue. We are told everything and at the same time, nothing. Plus, their deaths were totally anti-climatic. Like, oh, that's all they needed to do? Why didn't you SAY so? I wouldn't have spent nights awake terrified of them.
But the story was very consistent with the existing canon, I suppose because Joss Whedon helped write/create it. All of the dialog matched the characters we know and love, which I was worried about, and all of them acted in character. However, River seemed to be more her Firefly self than her Serenity self, and there was no hint of a transition to her Serenity self. Seriously, I am bothered by River's shift in between the show and the movie, and was hoping this comic would help a bit. But maybe they cover it in the future volumes? This one seemed to cover everything else in between, though (we get a teaser for The Operative, as well).
Random nerdy bit that I loved: BADGER! He's probably my favorite show-only character.
Nerdy bits I didn't love: The lack of Kaylee and Simon. Also, WHY IN THE VERSE WAS DOBSON THE MAIN VILLAIN? Hands of Blue should have been the main villains. There was really no need for more Dobson.
Rating: 4/5 stars