Graphic Novel Review: Serenity #4 Leaves on the Wind with script by Zack Whedon

serenity4_darkhorsecomics Source: Preview :: Dark Horse Comics

Leaves on the Wind is the fourth Serenity graphic novel.  Leaves is set shortly after the events of the movie Serenity, and continues the story.  This is what sets it apart from the previous graphic novels.  As such, Leaves does include spoilers if you haven’t watched the movie and the single season of Firefly, so I’ll keep my summary brief to minimize the risk of spoilers here.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds and what is left of his crew are hiding out, laying low but running out of food.  The Alliance, of course, is still looking to recapture River and have identified the ship and Mal.  Things become complicated when one of the crew has a medical emergency (I’d give more detail, but when I mentioned the circumstance to a co-worker who recently watched my copies of Firefly and Serenity [yes, I’m a Browncoat evangelist ;)], his reaction was “What?!”).  New allies and old enemies quickly come into play and the story moves along at a brisk, exciting pace.

One of the things that I enjoyed was the continuity of characterization.  Zoe is still a bad ass, Jayne is still gun-obsessed and mercenary, and he still has his cunning hat.  The artwork is another positive aspect, though it did not always feel consistent from panel to panel.  And while it was relatively easy to identify each of the main characters throughout the story, Inara was dressed differently than in anything previous and took a bit of getting used to.

The furthering of relationships was a welcome part of this story, though the depiction of their (ahem) relations does put this squarely in the “for adults” category.  Depictions of violence reinforce this categorization.

True to the tone of the TV series and movie, this graphic novel is exciting, thrilling, touching, and amusing by turns.  An interesting development is that, in the wake of the transmission that occurred in the movie, a New Resistance has risen up.  This New Resistance provided one of the most amusing parts of the story when (apologies if you consider this a spoiler) when one of the members states that Mal is “the greatest military mind alive.”

Along with the main Leaves on the Wind story (script Zach Whedon, pencils Georges Jeanty, inks Karl Story, colors Laura Martin [with Lovern Kindzierski for chapter 6], letters Michael Heisler), a “cover gallery” is included as well as a bonus short story “It’s Never Easy” (script Zach Whedon, art Fabio Moon, colors Cris Peter, letters Michael Heisler).  The bonus story artwork was an interesting change from the more realistic portrayals in the first story.  Somehow, though it is more stylized and rougher, I felt it better captured the roughness of environment and the essence of the characters.  It surprised me with its appeal.

If you are a fan of the show/movie, then I would highly recommend this graphic novel to you.  It immediately knocked my previous favorite, Serenity Volume 3: The Shepherd’s Tale which finally gives some back story for Shepherd Book, into second place.  5/5 stars.

Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 Volume 4 – Leaves on the Wind | Dark Horse Books, November 2014 | library copy

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