Firefly: Bad Company Digs Into Saffron’s Mysterious Origins

by James Ferguson

Saffron, a fan favorite character from Firefly gets the spotlight in this oversized one-shot.  How did she become the conniving woman of mystery in the first place?  We go back to her early days as a penniless street kid in the Rim, watching as she picked herself up and found a way to survive.

One of the most interesting aspects of Firefly: Bad Company is how careful writer Josh Lee Gordon is to avoid naming Saffron.  That is a moniker that’s given to her later in life and it is one of many.  She is never directly addressed by name.  This is a detail that you don’t notice right away, kind of like Ed Norton’s character in Fight Club.  This only adds to her mystery and even makes you question if the story you’re hearing is real or not.

This history is weaved into the story in the ongoing Firefly series, so I hope that means we’ll get to see more of Saffron soon.  Most of the book is shown as a flashback, recounting Saffron’s tortured past.  She definitely had a rough go of it, with a childhood that’s a little reminiscent of Aladdin, but obviously without a magic lamp to change everything.  Instead, she loses loved ones and faces death at every turn.

Saffron is narrating her own history.  Letterer Ed Dukeshire shows this in caption boxes with a font that looks a bit like hand writing.  It gives the feeling of a journal, which makes it come across as more personal than your typical typed font.  This helps bring us closer to Saffron as we get a peek into the inner workings of her mind.

Of course, nothing with Saffron is ever as it seems.  This is her perspective and she’s not known for telling the truth, so I have to wonder how much of this is true.  She’s such a terrific con artist though that you want to believe everything.  It is a pretty great story too.

You get a real sense of the tough childhood Saffron had from the artwork for Firefly: Bad Company.  I’m not sure who handled which sections as Francesco Mortarino, Giuseppe Cafaro, and Moy R are all credited for the pencils for this book.  In any case, you can practically feel the dirt and grime on the early pages, which is washed away as Saffron starts working for the companions.

Colorist Gabriel Cassata helps this along considerably.  The tone of the story changes when Saffron finds something resembling a stable, normal life.  It’s brighter and cleaner, yet the shadows loom higher here.  While this might be a better life than the one she had in the gutter, it’s just as deadly.  It’s just that the dangers come from different places.

I love how Saffron evolves as a character over the course of Firefly: Bad Company.  We see her go from a somewhat innocent, yet mischievous girl to a confident and strong young woman, and finally to a cocky and headstrong woman.  There’s a hint of mischief in each stage of her life, brought forth in the design for the character.

When Boom! Studios got the Firefly license, they committed to expand upon this short-lived, but loved TV series.  We’ve already seen some great stuff on the ongoing series and this one-shot is the first of what I hope are many more exploring some of the supporting or side characters that we only got a glimpse of on TV.  It’s clear there is so much to dig into with Firefly.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Firefly: Bad Company from Boom! Studios is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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