Firefly #27 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 31, 2021

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Ethan Young
Colours: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Jim Campbell

We’re now onto the third issue following Firefly’s recent jump into the future, and while it's not as big a jump as it’s sister series Brand New ‘Verse, it is still a brand new time with big changes for our crew. So far Mal has been conspicuous by his absence, so with this issue Greg Pak makes sure to put the focus back to Mal so that readers learn what has befallen him since we last met. Pak briefly covers the reasons for Mal’s self imposed solitude, after Inara challenged him during the Blue Sun escapades, that he would get his friends killed, which was followed shortly by Book and Wash’s deaths during Serenity, Mal has decided to stay away from his friends to stop anyone else getting killed. It doesn’t feel like a great explanation, or particularly in keeping with the character either. There is a doggedness to the character that isn't in fitting with him giving up like this.

The rest of the issue follows Mal and an unexpected and unwanted friendship with a dog he finds himself lumbered with. It makes for interesting reading, even if the explanation for his isolation is somewhat lacking. We also get a chance to see giant robots as well. The longer that Pak has spent on the series the clearer it is he doesn’t understand what it was that made Serenity work so well. His grasp of the characters is barely tangible at best, his over reliance on telling Mal's story, as well as leaning far too heavily into the Sci-Fi side of things it beings to feel less like a Western set in space and more just standard Sci-Fi fare.

Getting the pacing of a comic right can be challenging at the best of times. The short nature of the story means it’s far too easy to spend too little time on developing the character, instead focusing more on advancing the plot and over the top action scenes. With this issue Pak tries to delve into Mal’s psyche, spend some real time letting the reader understand how Mal is feeling, but instead of feeling like a deep, character led story, it ends up feeling rather empty and hollow. The entire issue could have been condensed down to four pages, the first three featuring a conversation between Kaylee, Zoe and Inara, and the final page of the story. Four pages and readers wouldn’t have missed out.

Ethan Young does a good job with the art, working well with what Pak has given him to work with, and really trying to capture the emotions on Mal’s face as he unwillingly bonds with the dog he’s encountered. He brings the exotic planet with its multitude of different biomes to life. It’s a shame that the good art isn’t enough to save the poor story. Joana Lafuente colours look great, as Mal crosses the planet the scenery switches from desert wasteland to desolate snow and he gets to use a wide range of colours.

Booms current run on Firefly continues to be disappointing, the characterisation for the leads feels off, and the explanations for Mal’s recent disappearance don’t feel in keeping with the character. Rather than being a good issue giving readers plenty of opportunity to reconnect with Mal it feels like the entire issue could have been condensed down to only four pages and not be any worse for it.

Our Score:


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