Serenity: Better Days and Other Stories

Serenity: Better Days and Other Stories
Alternative editions:
Serenity Better Days and Other Stories review
Alternative editions:
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-59582-162-1
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2008
  • UPC: 9781595821621
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Having bridged the Firefly TV show with the Serenity film in Those Left Behind, Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews and Will Conrad return to earlier times for the continuity implant of ‘Better Days’. It’s a far more enjoyable experience running with the idea of supposing the Firefly crew’s luck changed, and for once they stumbled into a job that made them all rich. What would they do with the money? A fly in the ointment? Sure, that’s in the form of a tenacious Alliance soldier intent on hunting down a bunch of wartime rebels known as the Dust Devils.

Surprises, nice personality moments and well choreographed action combine in a fast-paced thriller pushing all the right buttons, not least for giving Zoe a headlining role after a quiet outing last time round. It’s absolutely joyous, and it’ll make fans wish it had made the TV show.

The accompanying short stories are more of a mixed bunch. Conrad also draws Jim Krueger’s ‘The Other Half’. Krueger makes the mistake of diminishing the threat of the Reavers by having them just the distraction as the crew need something to shoot at while his focus is River. Cope with Reavers reduced to standard cannon fodder, and it’s acceptable.

Zack Whedon is brother to Joss, but a TV writer on his own account with Deadwood among his credits, and his ‘Downtime’ runs with much the same theme as ‘The Other Half’. That might be a disappointment were it not for some superlative art from Chris Samnee, who also draws the next volume The Shepherd’s Tale.

Wash gets the spotlight in Patton Oswalt and Patric Reynolds’ ‘Float Out’ , in which three former colleagues reminisce about his formidable piloting skills in sticky situations. The introduction is too long and over-wordy, but Reynolds really draws hell out of the space manoeuvres, and the ending is sweet.

As the title story occupies two-thirds of the collection and it’s great, this should be an essential buy for any Firefly fan. Alternatively it’s available with much other content as Firefly: Legacy Edition.