Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: Brett Matthews
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
While I am not sure if a Dark Horse book still qualifies as an “indie” book (it holds some of the biggest licenses in comics, Buffy, Star Wars, etc), I enjoyed this book enough to take a bit of a closer look at it.
First of all, if you don’t like Joss Whedon or his writing style (shocking, but they are out there) then you aren’t going to like this book because it’s Whedon at his best. Much like Kevin Smith, I have always been a big fan of his television and movie writing, but I really believe that Whedon’s true story telling abilities lie in comics (see: Astonishing X-Men). I say this because Joss Whedon penned books are one of the few books that make me laugh out loud when reading them. Serenity is no exception.
Mistreated by the TV networks, Whedon’s fascinating space-western, Firefly was unceremoniously canceled in the middle of it’s first season. Fan’s latched onto the show on DVD, and soon a movie was green-lit to wrap up the story. Serenity was well received in theaters, but the comic prequel, Serenity: Those Left Behind was even more coveted, and difficult to find to this day. Serenity: Better Days is set between the movie and the TV show, and tells the story of the rag-tag group of petty thieves led by Malcolm Reynolds. Chock full of the usual Whedon-esque dialouge, and plot twists, Better Days lives up to the hype of the original.
Brett Matthews once again joins Whedon on art duties, and does a great job of capturing the whimsical and adventurous tone of the story. It is always difficult for an artist to jump into a book that is full of characters that have real-life representations, but like Georges Jeanty in Dark Horse’s current Buffy series, Matthews manages to do a great job of visually representing the characters in a way that leaves them recognizable, yet stylized.
I really believe that Joss Whedon is destined to do great things in the world of comics. His work on not only his own properties, but also with the X-Men proves that. What’s nice is that he can work in both the big business world of Marvel, and the smaller world of Dark Horse. If only they would let him take a crack at Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic.