Firefly #21 Review

by Nick Devonald on October 20, 2020

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Lalit Kumar Sharma & Daniel Bayliss
Colours: Marcelo Costa
Letters: Jim Campbell

It feels like everything that Greg Pak has written in the Firefly universe is slowly coming together, all the new characters and storylines he’s introduced are all building towards a climatic finale. The weaker aspects of recent storylines, mainly focusing on Mal to the detriment of all the other characters, is no longer an issue as the rest of the crew feature quite heavily in this issue. There’s even a strong moral message in there about heart and people that feels very much in keeping with Firefly and what worked really well with the series. With comics there is a freedom to explore storylines without needing to worry about budget constraints, or what is possible on the small screen, and Greg Pak seems to understand this and has a freedom with the storytelling that wouldn’t have been possible for the TV series.

All the ingredients are there to make this issue one of the best ones, and yet it manages to fall short. The robot lawmen storyline feels just a little too sci-fi for the world of Firefly, which has always lent more towards the Western, frontier elements than the sci-fi. Not that robots don’t have a place in the world of Firefly, but the whole storyline just feels a little off and not quite Firefly, which is a shame. There are moments of greatness here, Pak does a fantastic job with the crew and their banter, understanding what it is that works so well about them and more than making up for their absence in recent issues. There is so much potential within the Firefly comics, but it always feels like it doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights it’s destined for, continually being let down in one area or another, which is a real shame.

The art throughout the series has been one of the strengths, and regular series artist Lalit Kumar Sharma is joined here by Daniel Bayliss, whose art is on a par with the excellence that Sharma brings to his work.  Sharma has always managed to do a great job on capturing the Western aspect of the series and that continues here, and Bayliss’ action scenes are excellently done. While the art switches between artists throughout the issue the colours from Marcelo Costa does a great job of bridging the differences between the styles, almost making the transitions seamless and definitely playing a big role in not jarring the reader as they read.

Another issue of Firefly which doesn’t quite live up to its full potential, the storyline feels a little too sci-fi for the world of Firefly. Strong moral messages, great banter between the crew, and excellent art make the weaknesses of the storyline more frustrating.

Our Score:


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