Cameron's Reviews > Better Days

Better Days by Joss Whedon
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Aug 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic-novels, reviewed
Read in March, 2011

Unlike its predecessor, Those Left Behind, Serenity: Better Days is a highly enjoyable adventure tale. Not bound by the objective of that which came before it, Whedon and Matthews really get to spread their creative wings and they weave a tale that stands up to the best of what the show had to offer, which is really the best thing about this comic. It feels like another episode of Firefly, something fans of the show will no doubt be ecstatic to hear, being the devoted bunch of people they are. And while I'm not among the shows dedicated fan base (I thought the show was decent at its worst and above average at its best) I can still recognize quality work when I see it, even if the material isn't something I get excited about.

The story here involves the Serenity crew successfully completing a job that has a payout much higher than they ever dreamed possible. They're rich. That being the case, the crew begins to fantasize about all the crazy things they're going to do with their new found riches. It's used as a means to comment on each character in fun, albeit not unexpected, ways. The highlight has to be Book's fantasy, which is used to great comedic effect in the book. Not every fantasy is of the comedic variety, however. Kaylee's is all about romantic passion and Mal's adds another layer to his character in one of those obnoxiously cute ways. All in all, the scenario is used as a means to teach us more about the characters and it succeeds in most cases.

The art, though done by the same artist, Will Conrad, doesn't match the quality of his previous Serenity outing. Something about it seems unfinished, or rushed perhaps. Lines seem less refined and the shading seems off to me. These aren't major complaints, though. The art is still well done and the characters are all well portrayed, but I know Conrad is capable of better. There is one panel that's actually really well done and sticks out in my head though, which depicts River kicking a dude in the face. It's well drawn and the impact is rather intense. I'm a sucker for panels like that.

Overall, this is a really good comic with some corny and/or unnecessary moments placed under less than stellar art, but it should be more than welcome in the collection of any Serenity fan.
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