There is an equal balance of new versus old for the first entry into this new spinoff series that manages to capture some of the magic of the original series while adding a lot of its own flavor along the way. The issue has a lot to offer on the bright & fun pages that will likely entice new readers while throwing out enough breadcrumbs for the old hands.
The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. That’s the overall seeming message when it comes to the events of Boom! Studio’s freshly launched spinoff series Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse.
While the original television series Firefly only made it one season on television before Fox Network brought it to an end, a movie (Serenity) and various comics books have been filling in the world ever since. This new series is a companion to the ongoing Firefly series that Boom is also publishing. Jumping twenty years from the events of Serenity and the ongoing series, Brand New ‘Verse heavily focuses on Emma Alleyne Washburne the daughter of series main characters Zoe Alleyne Washburne and Hoban “Wash” Washburne.
Josh Lee Gordon presents a story that heavily pulls at nostalgia that is not all that unfamiliar within the realm of fiction, one where characters have to struggle to continue their lives as they know them when the world, or universe, has moved well beyond them. Zoe and Emma and their crew, new characters Salo and Lu Bao, still try to make a living as smugglers on the much older and far more banged up Firefly-class ship Serenity. The universe has become a much more connected and seemingly brighter place since their days back on the rim, and there appears to be a lot less work for their type as time moves on.
It is always hard to judge the first entry of something that is familiar but also very new, however Gordon seems to easily capture the character of Zoe, and one other returning character that makes an appearance, as well as some of the personality of the world the series takes place in (even with all the changes). Each of the newer characters are well defined and stand out from one another, which bodes well for the series continuation.
Fabiana Mascolo has a very energetic and fun style that really fits both the action and character dedicated portions of the story. The figure of Zoe in particular looks like Gina Torres, who played the character, but is also an entirely different entity. Sometimes when artists try to copy the likeness of an actor for a licensed work it can take the reader out because it’s too real or just too much, but that isn’t the case here.
Lucia DiGimarino has a very clean and crisp coloring style that easily shifts between the brighter palette of the universe outside the ship and the dimmer and rustier-looking colors that permeate Serenity itself. Another way that hits home the message that the ship is old and out of place in the universe. Jim Campbell brings even more life to the creaky battered old ship with solid lettering, allowing the stresses upon the ship to be truly ‘heard’ off the page.
While the overall hook of the way things used to be juxtaposed with the way things have moved on is a solid one for this book, the final reveal of the issue does seem to be a little too much into the realm of nostalgia. There likely could be way more twists to where it will go, but right now it is a bit too close to one of the reveals from the original series. Clearly, that is intentional but sometimes the less nostalgia the better.
Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse #1 is now on sale from Boom! Studios in print and digitally.