What Is It?: Serenity: Better Days #1 (Written by Brett Matthews and Joss Whedon)
Timing: After "Firefly," before "Those Left Behind."
REVIEW: Serenity- Those Left Behind was a good idea. It bridged the series and the movie, filling in a gap that really did need filling in. It was a bit bland, though, and came off as a mediocre 'lost episode' of "Firefly," but it was definitely worth a read. So, when this comic was announced, I figured it would also take place between the series and the movie, but also AFTER "Those Left Behind," as that ground has already been covered.
However, it wasn't. This comic is set between the series and "Those Left Behind." Why? This what I think:
1. Joss doesn't want to write a Serenity comic that takes place after the movie, because he still has hope that a sequel will be green lit. Fair enough, but that leads to boring comics that have little to no impact on the story line or the characters. We get that Mal and Inara secretly love/lust after each other, but how long can that be written about? We get the whole Simon/Kaylee cute flirtation hesitant thing, but come on. It's been going on forever. How long will the same plot threads be stamped over?
2. Joss doesn't want to write a Serenity comic that takes place after "Those Left Behind" because he won't have Inara and Book to play with. Well, sorry, but that's just a bad excuse. As interesting as those characters are, this SHOULD have been set after "Those Left Behind."
As far as the substance of the actual comic, it's average. The whole idea of the gang actually carrying out a successful heist is interesting, and Inara's little dilemma with her client was entertaining. However, none of this really seemed to stick with me. Not to mention, the 'heist' scene (with Mal, Zoe, Jayne, and Simon being chased and then the stuff that follows) was one of the most awkward comic scenes I've read. I'm disappointed, because the first few pages read really well, but things just teetered off towards the end. Unlike the new Buffy and Angel comics, "Serenity: Better Days" didn't do it for me.
All in all, I'm left with a feeling of "eh, so what?" When Joss is ready to take these characters on a journey that actually has an impact on them and the 'verse, I'll be happy, but until then, it looks like I'll be bored.
Art: Insides, good. A bit boring, but good enough. The cover, though? Horrible. Horrible in an incredibly creepy way. The bodies are very comicy, but the faces are photo-realistic. However, all of the faces are also twisted into creepy, pervy smiles. No, not "I'm happy, the heist went well," but nasty looking smiles. Zoe looks like she's a smirking supervillain and Mal looks like he's about to sneak into little Jimmy's room. And Wash? Wash looks like Wash.