Often cited as one of the greatest TV shows to be canceled before its time, Firefly is a franchise that refuses to die. There have been board games, memes, and even a feature-length film sequel in the form of Serenity.
Among the numerous mediums the series has existed in, none have been as successful as the comics. Since 2005, the franchise has seen dozens of releases under both Dark Horse and Boom! Studios, some of which are just as shiny as the TV show. And with rumors of a Firefly reboot coming to Disney+, now is the perfect time to comb through the best Firefly comics available.
10 Serenity: Those Left Behind
Set between the events of the TV show and the movie Serenity: Those Left Behind sees the crew take on a job that brings them to an old Unification War battlefield. When they arrive, they quickly realize that they’ve been set up and must work to escape capture.
While the book has a certain fan service quality that makes it difficult for new readers to jump in, it does do a commendable job of advancing several character arcs leading into Serenity. Of particular note is Shepherd Book’s realization that his time on Serenity has corrupted him, thus giving him a natural reason to leave the ship and its crew.
9 Firefly: Brand New ‘Verse
The first Firefly comic to explore life aboard Serenity without the original crew, Brand New ‘Verse finds Zoe in charge of the ship along with her daughter Emma. Together, they cobble together a new crew to navigate the ship and its contraband cargo through the ‘verse.
Featuring some of the best artwork from any Firefly comic, ‘Brand New Verse is a touch contentious given its focus on new characters, but the choice to go forward is one that allows the comic to breathe like no other. The characters are surprisingly fleshed out despite only getting six issues of time to exist, and the choice to have Zoe command Serenity is inspired.
8 Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale
From writer Zak Whedon, The Shepherd’s Tale delves into Shepherd Derrial Book’s personal history through a series of flashbacks. In the present, the reader witnesses his last moments in the ‘verse as he is shot by the Operative’s forces at his missionary outpost.
The Shepherd’s Tale admittedly suffers from the need to overexplain the character’s backstory, thus raising questions about certain events in Firefly. Despite the book’s selling point being the messiest aspect of the story, it still does a good job of humanizing the often enigmatic Shepherd Book and lets readers know what makes the character tick.
7 Firefly: New Sherriff In The ‘Verse Vol. 1
Following the events of The Unification War, Mal is made a sheriff in charge of an outer rim planet while Blue Sun attempt to hunt down his mother for her war crimes. Amidst this new status quo, the rest of Serenity’s crew waits for Mal to skip out on his new job so they can all disappear.
Though the book largely serves as buildup for the Blue Sun Rising storyline, it still offers a wonderful demonstration of Mal’s loyalties as he works within the system to help the poor and downtrodden rather than Blue Sun’s financial patrons. His dynamic with Boss Moon is also a highlight with the two enemies now working together.
6 Serenity: Better Days
After the crew pull off a successful heist and obtain their pay, they ecstatically discover that they’re rich and don’t have to work anymore. As they all celebrate their newfound wealth, an agent of the alliance tracks them down, looking for revenge.
Better Days is a unique comic in the Firefly franchise because it shows them as celebratory people rather than down-on-their-luck underdogs. It makes for a giddy read and allows the characters to reveal new aspects of themselves to readers before everything is brought to a screeching halt by agent Ephraim Sanda.
5 Firefly: The Sting
The first original Firefly graphic novel produced by Boom Studios, The Sting sees the crew team up with Saffron after she shows up and offers the women a chance to take part in a heist.
While The Sting takes a while to build toward the actual heist that is proposed early on, it does an exceptional job of fleshing out the comic’s female characters. Zoe, in particular, is given a great deal of time to express her desires and fears of wanting to become a mother, building (and sometimes challenging) the canon that was established in “Heart of Gold,” one of Firefly’s best episodes.
4 Serenity: No Power In The ‘Verse
Named after one of the best Firefly quotes, No Power In The ‘Verse sees the crew of Serenity begrudgingly work with an extremist group after a friend of theirs is kidnapped. As a result, tensions rise among the crew members.
Building off of the comic, Leaves on the Wind, No Power In The ‘Verse gives audiences a further glimpse of the project River was a part of while also highlighting how the Browncoat cause wasn’t the most noble in the ‘verse. These choices make for an entertaining read, even if the story isn’t welcome for newcomers.
3 Serenity: Float Out
Set after the events of Serenity, Float Out focuses on three of Wash’s old friends as they reminisce about the recently deceased pilot. As they recount their adventures, the reader is given glimpses of who Wash was before he became a crew member of Serenity.
Though largely remembered for the reveal at the end and for the fact that Patton Oswalt wrote the script, Float Out also boasts a touching tale of loss and nostalgia. It gives Wash something of a proper send-off following his shocking – dare one say gratuitous – death in Serenity and provides comfort to those wondering if they’ll be remembered after they’re gone.
2 Firefly: The Unification War
The first arc in Greg Pak’s run on the Boom! Firefly comic, The Unification War finds Mal and Zoe facing their past after a heist gone wrong. In a desperate bid to save his friends, the two must either choose to make amends for their previous actions during the war or continue to run from their sins.
Though The Unification War is more drawn out than a typical episode of Firefly, it manages to nail the tone of the series and the character dynamics, as evidenced by moments such as River convincing people that Jayne is Zoe’s wife. Beyond this, the book also delves into Mal’s backstory and adds further shades of darkness to the morally dubious smuggler as he faces off against his perfect foil, Boss Moon.
1 Serenity: Leaves On the Wind
Released throughout the first half of 2014, Leaves On The Wind deals with the fallout of Serenity as the Alliance sends agents to arrest the crew of Serenity. Amidst all this, Zoe gives birth to her daughter but suffers a hemorrhage, meaning the crew must come out from hiding to save her life.
As the first full-length piece of Firefly media to take place after the film, Leaves On The Wind has a lot on its shoulders, yet it more than exceeds fan expectations. It builds on what had previously come before, examines the new romantic relationships that had blossomed, and perhaps most importantly, carries a sense of weight and tension that none of the other comics before it had done. Add in the fun bits of fan service, and it easily stands as one of the best adventures in the Firefly universe.
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