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August 06 2008

Latest Issue of Dark Horse Presents has All New Serenity Story. The Other Half is 8 pages of coolness. Features the writer of the upcoming Shepherd's Tale series.

If you didn't hear the announcement, Jim Krueger is the writer for the Book series coming up next year. Will Conrad won't be doing the art for that one though. Will said at Comic-Con that he had just done this a couple weeks ago, so they published it pretty quick.

Great story. Sigh.
Good little comic. Only niggle I have is the same one I had with the movie: The Reavers, who went from being an unspeakable, unimaginable and unsurvivable horror, an "abandon all hope" type situation in the series; to being plain old crazy cannibal people with effed-up faces.

Not that meeting crazy cannibal fugly people don't constitute peril. And no, I'm not sure what I'd have preferred instead. It just seems like even the BDH aren't that impressed by them anymore.

Still, nice comic. Bring on the Shepherd.
I like the story; execution seems a little hurried. But nice to see some conception of what Mal would do with River once he had some idea of what she was and what she could do.

(Now if only I could find an artist for my fan comic script I've been sitting on for two years.)
I agree, Winther. Given that the story is pre-Serenity, their reaction to being chased by Reavers seemed a little underwhelmed. And if I recall correctly, they didn't know until they got to Miranda that the Reavers were actually human, so why is Jayne referring to them here as "cannibals," which are by definition, human?

But nitpicking aside, it's soopercool to have more stories. Keep 'em coming! :D
No, the story was always that Reavers were human. It's just that everyone believed they were people who simply went mad at the edge of space.
Ah, for some reason I thought that they didn't know for sure and the men-gone-crazy thing was just one theory that was favored by some, but not all.
Well, it's the only story we ever heard on the show, at any rate.
...execution seems a little hurried

That might be because it actually was rushed. Will told me that he did the art in a week. About a week or so before Comic-Con. He had to put all his other work on hold and get this out to meet the deadline. At the time he didn't know when it would be published. We found out the next day in the Browncoat meeting room when Scott Allie announced an all new 8 page Serenity story would be on Myspace in a couple weeks. I think it looks great, even without knowing the circumstances.

And let me say now that Will Conrad is a class act. He stopped by the Browncoat booth on Thursday and pointed to the exclusive comic (his cover) and said "This art is terrible!" Of course we figured out who he was really quick. He was very nice and agreed to stop back by and sign some comics for us.

Which he did on Saturday. He signed a pretty big stack while telling stories of getting the job on the first Serenity comic. How he became a fan by watching the Firefly DVD that he had his manager send him (No Firefly on TV in Brazil). Seems the reference shots sent to him weren't enough for him to get a feel for the characters. He also said that he loves to draw the ship, even though it's tough and a lot of work. He watches episodes of Firefly while drawing the series so he's in the right mood.

I'm so glad I got a chance to meet him, and it's one of my top highlights from a Comic-Con full of highlights.

Oh, and the story is very good. Looking forward to what Joss and Jim Krueger have in store for Book.
I wasn't expecting this at all, so it was a lovely surprise. Great that we didn't have to wait to see it in print, though it'd be nice to have in hand some day. Otherwise, Krueger seems capable. Nice to see how River got to the place she was at the beginning of the BDM.
That was just downright shiny.
Thanks for that! It made my afternoon. :) Totally wasn't expecting it, and I love Joss surprises (except, you know, for Billy ;)).
Fun. Thanks for the treat.

I figured post-Objects Mal would use River as a feeler. Nice to see a story that uses the theory.
Oh I loved that, and why didn't I know this was coming out? Usually we know way ahead of time that something good is on it's way.
Nice surprise!

And for something done in a week, this looks really really shiny!
I actually think it's the best art on Firefly comics so far.

(No Firefly on TV in Brazil)

Actually, Firefly was on tv here in Brazil. But after it was finished I think there was only one reprise.
Actually, Firefly was on tv here in Brazil.

Was it after 2005? Because that's when he had the DVD sent to him, to work on the first comic series that bridged the gap between Firefly and Serenity.
Actually, Firefly was on tv here in Brazil.

Was it after 2005? Because that's when he had the DVD sent to him, to work on the first comic series that bridged the gap between Firefly and Serenity.

Nop, before. 2003.
According to Wiki it was aired in 2003, so I answered my own question. Will must have been one of the many not to catch the show when it aired.

And maxsummers answered the question too. Thanks!

[ edited by danregal on 2008-08-07 01:25 ]
That was a cool little story considering it's told in only a few pages. I enjoyed it!
a book series? i'm guess that none of this is canon?
nevermind, if joss is working on the story, i guess thats official enough for me. i'm quite happy to read more about Mal and the gang.

[ edited by the FAT indian on 2008-08-07 01:50 ]
Great comic, but just one possible nit to pick... what happened to the reaver's ships on page six? I could be mistaken (I probably am) but it looks as if Wash shot them down. That's just not possible.
Yeah I don't understand those panels either.
Why isn't it possible to shoot down a Reaver ship?
The only time Serenity ever had the ability to shoot down anything was when they put the cannon mount on it when they were on Haven in the movie Serenity,
Oh, yeah... thanks crazygolfa for jogging my memory. I had totally forgotten.
New cargo bay came with gun turrents all armed/fueled. You can see them in the triangle space on each side above the cargo bay door. In Serenity, they didn't have money for food let alone to keep the guns re-armed/fueled. Then when they had money from the bank heist, there wasn't time to get them re-armed/fueled.

I'm going with that until somebody comes up with something better.
Works for me.
You can see them in the triangle space on each side above the cargo bay door.

Agreed. But I say...

Double bwuh?

You knew the cargo bay was detachable right? And that in the movie Serenity, the cargo bay is blue. Meaning Alliance Blue. With added gunports where before there was only panels with two round circles on them. Now they are deep recessed with gun turrents. Hmmm, you know the cargo bay doesn't look very blue here.

Wait, River did it. She shot them thar Reaver ships and knew exactly where to hit them to make them blow up. See the little flashes on the back of the vehicle when Mal says Almost. Zoe was looking forward and didn't see the ships blow up. So she was just commenting on Wash being there. And Simon can't tell us what happened because he was hit in the head.

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2008-08-07 03:30 ]
Ah, for some reason I thought that they didn't know for sure and the men-gone-crazy thing was just one theory that was favored by some, but not all.

Not to be confused with the whole man-ape-gone-wrong-thing.
'Why isn't it possible to shoot down a Reaver ship?'

"Damn yokels don't know a transport ship aint got no guns on it!"

Ah well. Great little comic. Hopefully we see more like this. I can't believe Will pulled off that art in a week! Respect + + .
What is all that smoke behind River. If this were Xmen or whatever...I would think that River astral/orwhatever projected herself into the ships and damaged them and then reformed back from smoke in those three panels. She doesn't answer Mal cause she isn't yet back in the vehicle. But this is Firefly/Serenity, so the smoke is from the equipment River damaged shooting at the Reaver ships.
Awesome story.

Maybe Wash shot a telephone pole at the ships...
I vote for guided missiles. They were given a couple a while back, probably thrown into a deal in lieu of the full payment Mal was expecting. Kaylee rigged up a way of mounting them (Mal insisted they go on the primary buffer panel even though Kaylee warned that could weaken the entry couplings), and that's both missiles fired and gone.

The other obvious problem was of course NO KAYLEE!!
Wash could have dropped something on them from high enough. Probably not a telephone pole...cause he didn't have one yet.
The ship isn't coming from the correct direction to have dropped something on them.
It was a little unnerving seeing all the crew dead like that. I liked it.

Can someone clarify something for me, though? So the guy worked for the Alliance, they were bringing him to them--and his plan, once he realized who River and Simon were, was to kill the crew and take the fugitives?

I feel like I missed something big here. Still, lovely little comic. I really want to see some post-Serenity stuff, though... I guess not until they can do it justice, though. Sigh.
AlanD: The other obvious problem was of course NO KAYLEE!!

She's there! On the 4th page if you look through the, um, mess of bodies on the floor, you can recognize her green overalls and pink shirt. Same in the pile of corpses on the last page. She's a little busy being deceased, but she's there.

[ edited by EvilFirePixie8 on 2008-08-07 04:53 ]

"Does she know how the Alliance has been tracking down smugglers?" Alliance has been having this guy serve as bait and the Alliance has been putting down half up front. As Mal says "Nobody every agrees to pay half up front." The plan was to capture/torture/kill the smugglers. When he realized he had River and Simon, "No more high risk assignments...I might even get a commission..
So ya thinking that River can see possible futures as well as read minds?
In the panel with the reaver ships blowin' up, there are orange trailes coming from the direction everyone is heading, which is the direction Wash flies in from. The dialogue would also seem to imply that Wash was responsible, but that's subjective I s'pose.

For now, I'm content to go with Anonymous1's explanation, though I would argue those triangles are where the front landing gear is stored. I'll simply accept in general that for whatever reason they had some missiles and launchers on Serenity at some point. Maybe they decided to back up the threats of blowing big holes in little moons.

Great little story. Interesting that this is the second time (i can recall) that Mal claims River (the first time included Simon as well) is part of his crew, only to turn around to Simon in the movie and tell him his crew does not include Simon and River unless he conjurs it does. Something pissed Mall off between stories....
Executive Producer: Joss Whedon

So there is an explanation for those Reaver ships blowing up. To be continued...
So ya thinking that River can see possible futures as well as read minds?

No. She's psychic, not precognitive.

bobw1o, there's no question the panels appear to be communicating that Wash did it. But it flies in the face of everything we've ever been shown or told about the ship.

Something pissed Mall off between stories....

Yeah, I've been waiting for someone, somewhere, to get around to telling us what.
I'm telling you, it's missiles they got stuck with in lieu of payment. It would even make for a nice little scene...


Mal and Zoe return with the mule, loaded with oddly-shaped cargo hidden beneath a canvas tarp. The crew had all been sitting outside enjoying the nice weather and now gather around.

You got the money?

Well, you'd be half right.

MAL (shoots a glance at Zoe)
True, we only got half the money we wuz promised. But we did get somethin' else.

Unless that somethin' else is the other half of the money...

Mal whips back the canvas to reveal two missiles, not overly large, but long, shiny, menacing, and complicated looking. The faces of Jayne, River, and Kaylee light up, the others look incredulous, Zoe looks embarrassed.

Are those missiles?

Hey! 'Bout time we got some gorram firepower on this tub!

I don't think this is such a good idea.

WASH (to Zoe)
So what, are we starting our own army now? 'cause I didn't enlist!

River, beaming with curiosity approaches the missiles; Simon pulls her back

JAYNE (as if he has only now finished counting them)
Wait, you only got two? Hell, I'm not even gonna get a turn with one.

MAL (with an "I can't win" look on his face)
So Kaylee, you think you can get these hooked up and mounted today?

KAYLEE (excitedly then innocently)
No problem cap'n. You got the instruction book?

Mal and Zoe exchange a quick "uh-oh" glance.

No matter. Sure I'll figure it out. How dangerous can these things be anyhow?

She starts poking at one of the missiles with a small screwdriver. Everyone else starts to back away.

In Serenity, Mal is mad at Simon because Simon is telling him what to do on his ship. He snapped at Inara about that once too in Firefly. This comic is the tryout mission for River as crewmember...not just guest. River is fine with being on the crew and going on missions. Simon is the one having problems with it. And Mal is like fine...not crew...then you are boat...stay or leave...just like Book and Inara...Mal thinks everybody would be better off not being around him. Less mouths to feed etc.
Neat little story! I wasn't expecting a new Serenity comic, so I am happily surprised. I can't believe Will managed to get the art done in a week. Colour me impressed. I am sad he's not doing the Book series.
Why would the Alliance give them missiles?

Since we don't see Book or Inara (even as dead bodies), can we assume this takes place post-Those Left Behind and pre-Serenity?

Ohhhh, plan B. Using some of the half money to buy two missles. Or is that plan C. Or is River plan C.


Maybe she uses math to figure out possible futures.
hacksaway, I think it's safe to assume pre-Serenity (last I remember, Joss said there were no intentions for post-Serenity comics, at least not yet). Likely safe to assume post-TLB.

Anon1, it's far easier and more sensible to simply stick to what we already know of her rather than invent new abilities. Her existing abilities explain it well enough: She can see in his mind what he was planning.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-08-07 05:49 ]
Maybe she uses math to figure out possible futures.

Isn't that an Asimov book? ;)
River just sees what other people plan to do before they do it, so she can pre-empt them, which makes it seem as if she can see the future.
Maybe she was just seeing the future that this guy was envisioning, obviously not the real future (because it never did happen) but just what he was hoping for.
edited to add: oh, Aviva already posted that idea while I was still trying to write...

[ edited by embers on 2008-08-07 06:01 ]
Or more specifically her imagining of the plan in his mind, since he probably doesn't know what Wash and Kaylee look like.
Anonymous, Yeah Mal was mad at Simon in the movie. REAL Mad. And Simon had enough balls to press like he did in that scene. Mal and Simon were at enormous odds with each other, completely contrary to the end of the series where Mal had accepted them into the fold. This comic showed a bit of the tension between them, which may be as simple as a build up of Simon's upsetness about River (and himself) being taken on missions. But I don't believe for a second that we saw on screen the turning point for Mal or Simon in that scene. They were already to the breaking point when that scene began.

Therefore, something happened between stories, I'd like to see it. And, curiously, why did Mal welcome River to the crew when she was already a part of it? Mal threatens to kill Jayne for trying to turn in River and Simon. "You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me!" This is of course easily rationalized a dozen different ways, but I mention it because it stands out.

And Bix, I agree completely about our knowledge of the ship, which is why I simply accept that they got missiles at some point somehow for whatever reason. Another easy rationalization. Point of interest, same writer as the Book story, perhaps this will tie in somehow and we will be told why Serenity is blowing things up all of a sudden.
I'm not a huge fan of Jim Kreuger's work but this was a really good short. Kudos to Dark Horse for keeping this one under their hats.
Wow, that was a nice surprise, DH are so good to us. Not read Jim Krueger's stuff before, pretty good though I thought some of the dialogue was a bit "on the nose" (e.g. Zoe's bit about Mal making light). Liked the end though, it's always cool when we're reminded Mal isn't quite the straight-ahead, bull-in-a-china-shop he seems. Very canny.

And yep, from the drawing there're a few contenders for guns/rockets/missiles on Serenity, none of which she usually has. Maybe some dialogue from Serenity under that panel would clarify e.g. "I can haz wepinz ! LOL !" ;) ?

Re: Mal at Simon's throat BTW, I thought that was partly a bit of a retcon for the film to create more drama but mainly to show that the edge Mal walks has become a lot more raggedy recently, putting him out of sorts. And when you're out of sorts it's the people that normally require a bit of patience to deal with that you tend to lose it with first - Simon's always kind of rubbed Mal up the wrong way, makes sense to me that there'd be tension.
This was a great little comic. I actually enjoyed it much more than the latest miniseries (which just seemed flat to me). Some great River moments.

Isn't Jim Krueger slated to write some Buffy Season 8?

Answer: yes. One of the #21-25 issues, apparently.

[ edited by Buffy the Slayer Layer on 2008-08-07 13:06 ]
To those who say "rushed" I agree. I understand the explanation, but that's been the big weakness with all the Firefly-based comics so far. They're beautiful, they have a great set-up and then the third issue comes out and the story rushes to a conclusion. Rushes.

I started out as a comics reader but when I have to go back to try to figure out what happened, or have to read the same page several times to try to figure out what happened it takes me out of the story, it takes me out of that world.

As much as I've enjoyed the comics, they've always disappointed me and I haven't been able to recommend them to non-comic folks for that reason

I long for the Shepherd Book series but please give it four issues! Give the story room to breathe and live and be told fully, not rushed. Not in shorthand.

It's obvious that the folk behind the Serenity comics are incredibly talented and capable. Give them the size canvas they deserve to tell this story. Give them four issues.

(Or make it an "80 Page Giant", like the old days.)

bobw1o: Mal's problem with Simon:
In the "Serenity: Better Days" comic Mal tracks down Inara's shuttle when she's supposedly with a client. Mal sees Simon coming out of her shuttle. I'm sure it was just an innocent meeting, but as a misunderstanding I'm sure it could lead to tension.
Wow, this was a wonderful surprise! I knew that Scott had mentioned this at Comic-Con, but I had no idea it would be out so soon. Buffy, Spike, and Serenity all on the same day! Very awesome.

As far as Mal being pissed at Simon in the movie, Saje has it pretty much on the nose: Joss has admitted that it was a retcon of sorts to ramp up the dramatic tension. Though the things we've been seeing in "Better Days" and now "The Other Half" certainly would make Mal grumpy.

I enjoyed this a lot. It's always nice to have new Firefly/Serenity. It would be fun to be able to get a new eight pages every week...
Good point nelilly!
In Out of Gas, River was excepted back on the ship. His ship.

River never had a job on the ship before. Everybody in "the gang has jobs". Inara wasn't part of the gang. But Inara did help out. Book did too. River has helped the gang before but I guess this is the first time Mal gave River a job. And whether she was a member or not before, ML officially welcomes her into the crew in the last panel.

Had to pull out QmX Blueprint book. The triangle areas is the RCS Thruster (P/S). Looks like a flat panel with two circles. Landing gear are lower. But in the comic the triangle areas look like a dark recessed area with two circles areas.

River was Mal's backup plan with the guy they rescued. He would have also needed a backup plan at the meeting place and they were almost there.

Could Wash and Kaylee rigged up somehting in the RCS Thruster area?

Another idea. Blinking Beer Kegs. They fly in space. Maybe they can fly in atmo too. If Kaylee and Wash can rig them to send false signals, maybe they could rig them to explode too.
Just fill them with fuel and let them fly.

Engine parts in that explosion or maybe two extra beer kegs. No blinking lights though.
Using the beer kegs--called "Crybabies"--as explosives would've been excellent to see onscreen.
I thought the Crybaby in Firefly was a Blue Sun coffee can. The blinking beer-like kegs were in movie Serenity.
I don't know why people call them beer kegs. There's no obvious sense of scale and they could just as easily have been cry babies made of something other than coffee cans.
Does anyone know if this might come out in print at some point? I can't get it to load, probably because of my poor ol' aging laptop. *sob*
The deal with MySpace is that Dark Horse Presents material can't see print until a year after its online debut.
I thought it was six months BUT six months after the last strip "presents", which means trades are normally about a year after the first ?
Hello everybody!!! I'm glad that this story got so much reaction, and I hope you'll all forgive me if there's anything in the art that may not be up to the series. Being a fan like I am, I understand that all browncoats always have great expectations when it comes to anything about Serenity, and I always try to do my best to convey the best art, even if I have to spend a week without sleep ;)
I was really surprise to receive the assignment to this short, and even more surprise to see it online so soon, but considering the hurry they put me in, I should expect that this was supposed to be online soon. I'm glad with the result and I'm thankful for any comments you may throw my way :) Maybe you all could press Dark Horse to have me onboard Serenity more often :):):)
Good fly to everyone!!!!
--Will Conrad
Will, I'd be glad to push for more of your art on Serenity. The closing shot of the ship was wonderful. And the likenesses good. I never had to figure out who was who, which does, happen from time to time with other comics.
Meh nevermind.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-08-09 17:49 ]
That's (ETA: no longer ;) the $64,000 question.

And nice work Will, it may have been under a bit of time pressure but I don't think that showed in the art at all. Must admit, I was slightly disappointed to hear you weren't doing "A Shepherd's Tale", your panels are nicely drawn and well composed, full but never "busy" IMO (though i'm sure the next artist will be great too).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-09 17:52 ]

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