Firefly #16 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 17, 2020

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Ramon Bachs
Colours: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Jim Campbell

As comics go Firefly has had some really great issues and moments, and some that have missed the bar a little. Greg Pak has the unenviable job of carrying on the legacy that Joss Whedon set with the original cancelled Firefly series. Carrying on the "New Sheriff in the ‘Verse" storyline this issue picks up from the cliffhanger ending of the last issue. Unfortunately, aside from resolving that cliffhanger ending, the rest of the issue feels a little bit more like filler than anything else.

This issue really highlights the area’s that the comic is lacking from the TV Series. Chief among them is the fact that the crew have all been separated for far too long. And it’s not that the characters aren’t interesting enough to hold the story on their own, they are, but the crew of Serenity are a family and are at their best when they’re all together. A little bit of time apart can be a good thing, making the heart grow fonder etc, but for too many issues they've been seperated into smaller groups and its too much. And it’s not just that the crew are separated, it’s the new characters that Pak has been introducing too. He obviously wants to expand the Firefly ‘Verse, and new characters are a great way to do that. However Mal is always with Boss Moon, Kaylee with Leonard, and not even a brief cameo from Zoe, Wash, River or Simon. This isn’t the crew we know and love.

And it’s not just that, a large part of the issue is focused on Mal’s own brand of law enforcement, and while it’s interesting it doesn’t add anything to the larger story and ends up feeling like filler. Then the moment that really cements the feeling of wrongness involves Mal reuniting with Serenity. This is his ship. It’s out of character to think that he would leave his ship like this.

The identity of the mysterious serial killer and his goal is slowly being filled in, and the reveal promises to be interesting. But it really should have come by this point in the story.

The series artist has changed again, this time with Ramon Bachs taking over the reigns. When illustrating a comic based on a preexisting franchise, like Firefly, there are added challenges for the artist. Bachs does a great job of making each character instantly recognisable and readers will never be in any doubt about who they’re seeing. But while they’re recognisable he doesn’t capture them quite right, in particular Mal’s expressions felt off and a little disappointing after Lalit Kumar Sharma in the last few issues. While Sharma’s stylised drawings might not have been to everyones liking they created a strong identity for Firefly. Bach’s art feels like it’s playing things a little safer which is a bit disappointing. Joana Lafuente’s colours are good, yet feel like she’s played things a little safe.

This issue feels more like filler than substantial story and only serves to highlight the area’s where the comic can’t capture the magic of the shortlived yet well loved TV series. It’s not a bad issue, or series, per se, but it can’t quite achieve the lofty heights of Joss Whedon’s masterpiece. Another change in art team leaves the comic feeling as if it doesn’t have a clear identity. Fans who have stuck in with this series may begin to feel a little disappointed.

Our Score:


A Look Inside