A Rock And A Hard Place: Reviewing ‘All-New Firefly’ #8
by Scott Redmond
‘All-New Firefly’ continues the quest to make Jayne Cobb a more nuanced character, a pursuit that the series is fully succeeding at month after month. A lot of great artistic work creates a tense yet also calming issue that keeps the reader alert all the way up to a powerful and potentially game-changing cliffhanger. There are only a few issues left, but this series will surely be remembered for the love & dedication it has shown as well as the significant impact it has had upon this universe.
When creating an adaptation that continues the story of something beloved, there is often a delicate balance that many feel must be achieved. Walking that line which captures both the feeling and style of the original as well as new energy and style at the same time. Basically, something familiar but different all at once.
All-New Firefly not only walks that line, it does it easily.
No lie, when I heard that All-New Firefly is wrapping up in December there was part of me that was greatly disappointed. This is a series that has actually made me care about and like Jayne Cobb, who was pretty much a two-dimensional walking cliché in the original series. It has captured the original show’s energy while expanding beyond it in fascinating ways. It’s exactly what I was looking for in a series that continues the Firefly legacy.
At the same time, I’m grateful for this series and what we have gotten. That David M. Booher has been able to tell this story, showing off how excited he is about what is to come every time he’s replied to these reviews on Twitter. When we get a series like this, it’s something to celebrate, whether it’s one we get for a long or short time. Sometimes it’s not the length of the journey that matters, but the journey itself.
On the surface, many would say “Nothing happens” in this issue, but they would be seriously wrong. Not only do we get to see more of Jayne’s journey that led him down the path of crime, but we get some great character moments as well as some movement with the Tax Collector situation and a truly explosive final moment. I have not a single guess or clue where this will all end up by the time the finale rolls around, but I’m invested in finding out because this is a great series.
All of these moments are brought to life by the fantastic work of Vincenzo Federici and Matt Herms. There is a nice mix of roughness but also slickness in Federici’s art which is befitting for this crew of misfits that happen to be criminals with hearts of at least silver (maybe bronze in some cases). Another duo of concepts that might seem contradictory, is how we get a solid amount of depth & detail on these pages as well as a perfect lack of detail. What I mean by that is that the characters and their moments and some of the spaces are given a lot of great detail and focus while in other panels the backgrounds are washed out or removed completely so that the character or the moment is given all of our focus.
It’s a great way to center the moment they want us to pay attention to, giving Herms space to create colorful splash backgrounds to set the mood. Another element that I love is how Federici goes about paneling, where we get shifted panels or ones that are close-ups of emotional moments or items that or body parts to hit home what is being stated within the panel or page. Sure, wide shots are great, but this sort of paneling feels very authentic to real life and how we experience or see things at times.
The last issue was mostly ship-bound so the opportunity for a wide variety of colors was limited, not that it stopped Herms from creating beauty, but in this one, we spend more time on the planet as well allowing Herms to dive equally into lighter and darker and mixed palettes. Space is not only dark as it should be but the choices of the darkness make it feel legitimately cold on the page, placed right next to the really warm and bright-looking planet where I can almost feel the heat coming off the page.
One of the changes that I like between these two issues is how in the last one there was clear & present danger that had the Serenity glowing red inside, while here as they are in a sense of safety (till the end) the ship has a cooler lighter blue coloring within. Just those simple color filters establish the mood. One has us on edge as danger is close, while the other is relaxing and lulling us into a sense of security.
Jim Campbell always does a wonderful job of capturing the voice and personality of these characters, helping bring some life to the dialogue and captions across the pages. What really stands out though is the great bit of work that goes into making the tone and volume of any given exchange clear at first glance. We’re shown a normal sort of tone with caps and focus, but to showcase whispering or emotional blows all the font not only shrinks but it moves into sentence case and the bubbles/font have a sort of faded look speaking to their softer nature.
All-New Firefly #8 is now available from BOOM! Studios.