Engaging artwork carries a bigger part of the weight with this simple but compelling story of one man’s battle with his stubbornness and seemingly insurmountable grief. Firefly diehards hoping to see more of the popular series cast might come away disappointed but overall the issue solidly works for fan or non-fan alike.
There is a pearl of often-quoted wisdom about comic books that states that every issue of a series could be someone’s first, either of that series or of a comic book in general. Expounded the idea is that stories should be written in a way that continues whatever the overall story is, but is friendly to potential new readers along the way. Based on that definition, BOOM !Studios’ Firefly #27 fits the bill.
For those that have not picked up an issue of the series before, but are familiar with the television series from which it spawned, like this reviewer, Greg Pak does a splendid job of capturing the personalities of the few familiar characters and of the world itself. Those that are only vaguely familiar with the world should also glean a somewhat simplified picture of the characters and world to carry them through the issue and perhaps desire to pick up more.
The majority of the issue focuses on a self-isolated former captain Malcolm Reynolds, dealing with heavy cast losses that happened in previous chapters and the feature film Serenity, and his stubborn trek through a variety of dangerous biomes.
It serves as a character piece, one done without a heavy amount of dialogue from the featured character himself. There are caption boxes tied to some of the rest of the cast seen briefly at the beginning and end of the issue, but much of it is about Mal’s struggles. He struggles to try and block himself off from anything and everyone, which ultimately fails when someone that he saves that is also stubborn eventually finds a bit of a hold upon his heart.
With the minimal amounts of expository dialogue (there is still quite a bit of reactionary dialogue and exclamations) within the issue, it falls upon the art to carry even more of the storytelling load and Ethan Young and Joana Lafuente are more than up to the task. They wonderfully bring the various locales and the characters to life throughout the entire issue. Those biomes truly feel dangerous as Mal stumbles and falls through them, putting his life in riskier and riskier positions.
Jim Campbell assists in this regard with the propensity of sound effects and other lettering that drive home just how dangerous everything is. The best lettering is often said to be the kind you hardly notice because the letterer is doing their job well, like dialogue and caption boxes, but the SFX lettering that makes you feel what is happening is also a true mark of a great letterer.
Firefly #27 is now on sale from BOOM! Studios in print and digitally.