Review - Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 (@boomstudios)

For a property that barely lasted two seasons when it originally debuted, the Firefly universe continues to plumb new depths into its characters. The latest foray in character development comes courtesy of Firefly: Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 from BOOM! Studios. The issue is written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Davide Gianfelice and George Kambadais, colored by Joana LaFuente and lettered by Jim Campbell.

After the shocking conclusion of Mal's journey with Boss Moon, Mal hands himself into the Alliance...but it turns out it's not him they want. The infamous Ma Reynolds is at the top of the Alliance's Most Wanted, and if Mal doesn't get to her first, the Alliance will! Kicking off a new year of Firefly, discover the secret history of Mal and his mother, and what that will mean for the rest of the 'verse...and a new brewing war to end all wars.

Mal Reynolds has always had a certain amount of charm to him, both because of his character and the swagger Nathan Fillion brought to the role on the show. Pak latches onto that charisma quickly in the issue, showing Mal as a charismatic rogue who clearly draws inspiration from his mother. Most of the issue follows a pattern where Mal and Ma are engaged in a cat and mouse game with one another as they have conversations amidst shootouts. Pak does a good job of exploring Mal through some of the lesser-known characters and while the regulars are mentioned they're not forced into the story to make it work. Pak's dialogue also bears the Firefly accents and adages that firmly embed it in the universe properly.

Both Gianfelice and Kambadais channel the known visuals of the property into the comic, giving Mal a look that's easily recognizable. The illustrative style is a mix of completed linework and sketches which infuses the book with a healthy amount of visual grit. Gianfelice and Kambadais also use a lot of close-ups on the facial expressions of the characters--Mal in particular--as a means of emphasizing the emotion involved with the premise of the book. There are quite a lot of back and forth panels between characters as a means of showcasing the difficult emotions shared by the two characters of note. LaFuente's colors provide a sufficient amount of dustiness that fits with the space western, Firefly oeuvre.

Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 is a one-shot for sure, but it attempts to fill in some of the gaps about who the man Malcolm was and is. He's squaring off against his mother in an attempt to save himself, pitting his wits against hers. Pak's script pays ample respect to the source material in highlighting the galactic pursuit of Ma Reynolds. The illustrations by Gianfelice and Kambadais are very appropriate in capturing the spirit of the franchise. Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 is a slick read that fans of the series will definitely appreciate.

Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 is available now.