Review: ‘Firefly’ #31 Is Still Hanging In There
by Scott Redmond
Firefly continues to show flashes of what it could be when it turns its focus toward the characters & spends time on their growth, while it struggles in the realm of repeated plotlines. There are some small issues with faces with the new art but overall the art team continues to bring their best to the series even if overall the book is just sort of existing.
Flashing back a few months, the review for issue twenty-seven of Firefly spoke about a heavy character-focused issue that really worked. Then came the rest of this arc that has taken the crew to the Earth that was, where things have been not as great and quite a bit off at times. Issue thirty-one tries to have its cake and eat it too but stumbles in the process.
As mentioned above, the more character depth moments of this series so far make it soar so much higher and there are touches of that here with the first moments dealing with River’s situation as well as some exchanges between Zoey and Simon and then with the Washbot and Kaley. These moments showcase that Greg Pak really gets these characters and can mine their issues and personalities at times.
Then there are the other parts where the overall plot somewhat saps the character away and keeps turning stuff into the same cliché situation. On the original show, there was the fact that each week the crew got into some sort of trouble during their life of crime, but those issues varied and stood apart in many ways.
The crew throwing in a lot with one group against another with the group they are aligned with plotting behind their back feels almost like the usual plot in this series so far. It’s been seen quite a few times. A return to Earth, a place that was just a myth in the original series, seems like it should be something bigger and grander overall than just the usual situation for this crew.
Being a comic series there is so much more that could be done than what the comics showcase, but so far it’s sticking a bit too close to some of what the show was doing. Honestly, if this book spent way more time with the small character moments like with River or with Mal a few issues ago it could go so much further. Then bigger plots could be crafted around that.
Currently the spin-off series Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse is also mining some of the nostalgia from the old show but has somewhat surpassed this series just in the sense that it has made character the forefront thing which allows the series to do more.
The series has changed its artist once again with Jordi Pérez stepping in for Simona Di Gianfelice. While the art is smoother in some of the more action-oriented scenes, there are some issues off and on with the faces of some of the characters. In some of the panels, the faces are a bit blurred or stretched-looking.
While the previous issues played heavily on the characters looking quite close to their real-life actor counterparts, this one gets away from that just a bit. Not looking like the actors 100% isn’t an issue, but some of the depictions (Jayne being a big one) are a sharp detour from the previous depictions that is very noticeable.
With the rotating artists, it’s possible that this was put together rather quickly to keep the book moving, so that could be part of why some of the faces and such are just not fully up to where they had been previously. That being said, in many other panels what Pérez brings in is working including some of the other faces and as mentioned before much of the action scenes.
Francesco Segala and Jim Campbell remain aboard on colors and letters respectively and keep doing what they’ve been doing quite well. There are a good number of panels where Segala’s colors really help bring some panels even more life, especially a lot of the action-oriented ones. The ones at night are also good because they are sufficiently dark to be night but that perfect mix where things can be seen still.
Campbell has a lot more SFX to bring to life in this one, opposed to the last issue that used them quite sparingly, as there are many more in this issue’s action and fight scenes. There is a large part of the issue focused on chatting between characters so there are a lot of bubbles, sometimes from quite a few characters in one panel, but Campbell makes it all work.
Firefly #31 is now on sale in print and digitally from Boom Studios.