Serenity: Those Left Behind

Serenity: Those Left Behind
Alternative editions:
Serenity Those Left Behind review
Alternative editions:
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 1-59307-846-3
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2007
  • UPC: 9781593078461
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Despite never achieving major commercial success, both Joss Whedon’s space western Firefly TV show and the Serenity movie wrapping up events remain cult favourites for a vocal group of fans, who must have been delighted when Whedon decided to continue the series in comics.

He’d done the same with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, yet fans of that show came to realise it was a case of being careful what you wish for. Those Left Behind, however, is something different, Whedon collaborating with TV writer Brett Matthews to connect the end of the TV show to start of the movie, when much had changed. Presuming that anyone interested in reading a Serenity graphic novel has seen both, the TV show ended with Inara announcing her departure from travelling with Captain Malcom Reynolds and the Serenity crew, and that’s still not happened here.

With Whedon and Matthews’ involvement the characters sound as they should, and others with recurring roles are included, such as Badger, while Will Conrad largely ensures they resemble the actors, so no problems on that score. Conrad is a little shakier on the technology, not as happy drawing the individually shaped Serenity craft, which doesn’t feature as often as it might.

The drawback is that the writers seem to be going through the motions in delivering a greatest hits package. We’re presented with a heist that goes wrong, an argument between Reynolds and Inara, the job that’s too good to be true, a brief dip into war memoirs, and having to sneak Serenity between dozens of other ships. It’s all been seen before, as has the main antagonist, who at least is a surprise, but that’s largely down to almost everyone assuming they were dead.

Those Left Behind acts as the intended bridge, but without any great inspiration. Despite that this was popular enough to generate a hardcover reprint and the creative team return for the title part of Better Days and Other Stories. The content of both was later reprinted as part of Firefly: The Legacy Edition.