I’m not normally a graphic novel kind of girl, but a co-worker bought me the first two entries of Joss Whedon’s Serenity series, and I just loved them. They’re meant to bridge the gap between the end of the series and the Serenity movie, and they do a good job.
I don’t think that someone who’s never seen the show or the movie would enjoy these very much since there’s little to no set up for the characters and plotlines. They really read like episodes of the show. But I don’t think people who’ve never seen an episode of Firefly are my audience here. In Those Left Behind, Mal accepts a job from Badger, and of course it’s a set up. In Better Days, the crew finds a big pile of money, and of course everything goes wrong.
The illustrations are amazing. The best part though, is the dialogue. It’s spot-on. It would be very easy to imagine that Whedon simply had an illustrator take an episode of the show and turn it into a graphic novel. The characters ring perfectly true, and the jokes are as funny as those on the show. It’s a perfect taste of the series.
I’m not sure if it’s the case for every edition, but my copy of Those Left Behind also included gorgeous character illustrations every few pages. The end of the book has a brief set up of the Serenity universe (how the political system worked, the history behind the war, how everyone met) written by Whedon. It’s all stuff that could be gleaned from the show, but it’s fun to read Whedon’s little recap of it.