Firefly #29 is quite the visual feast as the art team gets to delve deep into the forgotten and broken but still flourishing realm of Earth. But the overall story feels somewhat disjointed and almost like it’s treading water ahead of something else that it really wants to get to but has to do the foundation building for first.
There is a particular feeling that sometimes comes from the moment that a person stumbles across a cover version of a song that they know quite well. That feeling often is one where, whether the cover is perceived to be good or bad, there is something off. It’s similar but not quite that thing in which a person is familiar. Making it stand out to them.
That’s the feeling coming from Boom Studios Firefly series right now.
There is a lot that is familiar about what Greg Pak is presenting on the pages from the characters to their mannerisms and the language that comes from the short-lived former Fox series in which it was born out of. Yet, it also feels very off for many reasons. The characters feel almost like shadow versions of the characters from when they were played by living people who put emotion and depth and work into building those characters. This feels close but comes off like an imitation.
The whole plot of finding the “Earth that was” (aka the planet Earth that was left behind a long long long time ago in this universe) should be bigger than it is here. There are typical Janye moments that fall flat about it and having the crew starting off by mass-murdering humans that they didn’t know were humans didn’t help.
Also while human language changes depending on the situation and therefore would change greatly for a populace that was left behind in a broken world, the depiction of the left behind humans here feels wrong. It likely is not meant this way, but it heavily comes off almost like the way that our media has long depicted indigenous people of various lands through time.
We’re only two issues in but it almost feels predictable where these plotlines are going, and while predictable isn’t always a bad thing it’s not helpful when this series already sort of feels like it’s treading water for some reason.
The art from Simona Di Gianfelice and Francsco Segala is still really solid and does a great job of providing the familiar but allowing their own touches to that familiar. The parts of this forgotten Earth that are seen are rendered brilliantly by the pair and are very lush and colorful which goes with the crew realizing that perhaps the Earth wasn’t as bad off as their legends told them. Jim Campbell continues to excel at lettering and making sure to organize the large amount of dialogue that comes from this issue in a way that flows.
The last issue allowed the artists to showcase what they could do when jumping from a frozen planet to the battles of deep space, and this one allowed them to go even further. The pages spreads of the Earth that was being taken back by nature were beautiful to behold. They were like nature special level stuff, from some documentary about what will happen to the world when humans eventually fall. It will be wonderful to see what more they bring to the table with the unlimited scope of what this forgotten but not forgotten world allows.
To go with the point about the character depictions, there is a worn and broken energy to them that is very well developed by the art. The emotions are strong and the characters feel exactly as they should in the given moment just on sight alone. Which helps greatly.
There is plenty of time for the series to turn around with this arc but so far it definitely is that cover version of a song that just feels a bit off.
Firefly #29 is on sale now from Boom Studios in print and digitally.