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Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 [Review]

serenityleavesonthewind001Script: Zack Whedon
Pencils: Georges Jeanty
Inks: Karl Story
Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dan Dos Santos
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

I have to blame a friend for my getting this. Firstly, I’m pretty sure she was aware of this then-upcoming series before I was, and then more recently being my “excuse” to “upgrade” my Firefly/Serenity collection. I also recently re-watched the entire series and movie, wrapping up just a couple weeks ago.

Given that recency, I was impressed with the cover from the start. Dos Santos captures Mal’s face in such a way that there’s no doubt that’s as portrayed by Nathan Fillion. The cover in general looks like a scene straight off the screen.

The interior art threw me off a little bit…there’s something almost too “light” or “bright” about its coloring, and some of the panels’ shots seemed a little more “out there” to me than I’d expect after being used to the visuals of the tv show. Granted, this is a comic book, so that change in visual style needs to be afforded a certain level of “pass” allowing for the difference in medium.

In and of itself, the visuals are good. I wasn’t blown away by anything seeming particularly amazing, but everything fit for the most part. There were a couple panels I had trouble telling who was supposed to be who, but I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t just my brain refusing to parse ’em out without audible voices to identify the characters.

The story works in general. We pick up some time after the events of the film Serenity, so as the issue progresses the status quo is gradually revealed while leaving some questions (or at least the specifics of how things went down) up in the air.

That this is a comic and not the tv show and yet it’s advancing the same story creates an interesting dynamic of sorts that I haven’t experienced all that often…particularly as the two media aren’t usually directly connected in this way.

I could “hear” the characters’ voices in the dialogue, and given context of the story, the characters themselves seemed authentic to me.

Unfortunately and fortunately at the same time, the comic is a different presentation of the material…lacking the movement and charm of the actors and actresses themselves, their voices, and other things tv and film can do that comics can’t. However, the comic can show things on a grander scale than a tv budget can allow, thus opening the scope of the story that much more.

Unfortunately, as only the first issue of six, this is just a chunk of story for now. Far too short to really be compared to a singular episode of the tv show, yet it seems like there’ll be enough content to this story that the better comparison of the eventual whole would be to that of the film rather than a single episode.

In the current marketplace of primarily $3.99 cover prices, this is “only” $3.50…not as much a bargain as $2.99, but a more reasonable step in pricing than the leap to $3.99.

While you may have plenty of questions of the backstory, this also isn’t a horrible place to jump in fresh…though picking up as it does after the events of the tv show/film you’ll encounter a fair number of “spoilers” should you opt to go back to the source material.

All in all, this is an issue I was looking forward to, made “top of the stack” for my reading priority (even ahead of as-yet unread issues from the past several weeks), and was enjoyable to read.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue, and seeing where the characters go!

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Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Faces of Evil: Deathstroke

After suffering a humiliating defeat, Deathstroke takes stock of his life and makes plans for moving forward.

facesofevildeathstroke001 Writer: David Hine
Penciller: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Mark McKenna
Colorist: Jo Smith
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Michael Marts
Cover: Ladronn
Publisher: DC Comics

Last I recall seeing Deathstroke was in the Last Will and Testament special last Fall, when Deathstroke was defeated in combat by Geoforce. After that humiliating defeat, Deathstroke has had some time to recover, and to take stock of his life. This issue opens with him in the hospital–where those attending to him marvel at his very survival. Once he’s awake, Deathstroke arranges a meeting with his daughter, and the two deal with "family issues" they have with one another. Finally, we see Deathstroke beginning to set up what may be his new status quo.

Hine seems to get this character quite well. The story here is believeable and well within what I’d expect of the character despite my limited exposure to him. We have a man who’s been pushed to his limit and forced to reassess what he is going to do with his life. We get to see him contemplative and in action, see what makes him very dangerous.

The art is solid, too. No complaints here–everything’s nice and clear, with no problems following the action. There’s a slight change in the coloring for a flashback scene that sets that sequence apart from the rest of the issue–gives it a bit of a surreal effect without going hokey or cheesey on us.

Next to Meltzer‘s writing of this character in Identity Crisis and Last Will, this has to be the best depiction I’ve seen of Deathstroke. This issue is–at standard cover price, even!–well worth snagging if you’ve any interest in Deathstroke. And if you’ve never dealt with the character before, you could probably still quite enjoy this issue, as it deals with the here-and-now of the title character as he prepares for what he is going to do moving forward from here.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Batman: Streets of Gotham #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Batman: Streets of Gotham
Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Manhunter
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Batman: Streets of Gotham #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Batman: Streets of Gotham
Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5

Manhunter
Story: 3.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Overall: 4/5

Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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