Firefly fans rejoice! The story of Serenity and her crew will be continuing via comic, penned by Zack Whedon. Unlike the previous Firefly comics, this one will be taking the story into new territory as characters move on from the events in the movie Serenity and try to deal with all sorts of new stuff & some new characters. Zack Whedon is responsible for some mightily good stuff, including the comic Dr. Horrible! And Other Horrible Stories as well as one of the best songs in Commentary! The Musical, “The Rap.”
I have been reading most of the Whedon comics as they come out, including Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Dr. Horrible, Tales, and Fray. They’re ok. In general, although these comics help somewhat to fill the void left by our favorite long-gone-but-not-forgotten TV shows, they’re not anywhere near as good as the shows themselves. Joss Whedon’s storytelling genius does not translate to comics all that well, though it hurts my heart me to say it. Even his arc of Runaways and his Astonishing X-Men left me underwhelmed.
The best comic I have read by Joss Whedon was actually based on his original screenplay for the movie Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The movie that was horrible because it was directed all wrongly. The comic was done as if Sarah Michelle Gellar had starred in the movie – it’s drawn to look like her, and comicbook Sarah Gellar delivers lines the way the real Buffy would. It has the feel of a real Buffy episode. The comic tells the story of Buffy the way it was meant to be told – as if Joss had directed his own movie, and then it was made into a comic. But if he’d written the story originally for a comic, I doubt it would be anywhere near so good.
There’s something missing in Joss’ comics (which is not to say it will necessarily be missing from Zack’s Firefly.) The stories just aren’t big. They may span centuries and cross universes, and do any number of flashy and surprising things, but they don’t feature whatever it is that makes Joss’ tv shows so great. They’re light on the character development and witty dialogue, heavy on the flashy. I don’t mean to say that the Whedon bros. comics (often, multiple Whedon brothers will work on a comic) suck. They do not. I always look forward to them. But they’re not like having Buffy back.
Will the new Firefly be like having Firefly back? I think that if that’s our expectation we’ll probably be disappointed. The show is over, and done. Despite the yearnings of the Browncoats for Firefly to be resurrected, it’s not going to happen. It was wonderful while it lasted, and then Joss gave us a gift with Serenity. That is more than fans of any other show ever got. With the new comics, let’s just hope for some good stories & stop pestering Joss to return to Firefly. He’s moving on, and so should we.