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Serenity: Those Left Behind
Publication date February 1, 2006
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Includes Original Comics 1–3
Creative Team
Written by Joss Whedon
Brett Matthews
Penciller(s) Will Conrad
Colorist(s) Laura Martin
Cover artist(s) Adam Hughes
Better Days

Serenity: Those Left Behind is a 2005 three-issue comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics. It was written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, illustrated by Will Conrad, and colored by Laura Martin. It is the first comic book series to be based on Whedon's short-lived 2002 television series Firefly and the 2005 feature film into which it was adapted, Serenity. The story is set between the end of the series and the beginning of the film, and depicts (among other things) what happens to Lawrence Dobson, the Alliance secret agent who attempted to capture Simon and River Tam in the pilot episode of Firefly, also titled "Serenity." There are three Serenity comics, entitled Serenity: Those Left Behind. Together they tell the story of what happens between the last episode of Firefly and the film Serenity.

The story is considered part of the Firefly/Serenity canon. Each issue of the series features three different covers, with each cover featuring one of the nine main characters, each by a different illustrator, including Joe Quesada, Bryan Hitch, Tim Bradstreet and John Cassaday. The first issue was published in July 2005, and the final one appeared in September. The comics quickly sold out on release, with both the #1 and #2 issues going into second printings. Many comic book retailers reported that it was their highest selling comic those months, in part because of the multiple covers, but also because it attracted a group of customers who are not traditionally comic book buyers. The comics were later reissued as a trade paperback compilation.



"After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized. The central planets formed the Alliance and decided all the planets had to join under their rule. There was some disagreement on that point. After the War, many of the Independents who had fought and lost drifted to the edges of the system, far from Alliance control. Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying."


The story opens with Shepherd Book giving a sermon in a random border-planet town, which is shortly revealed to be a diversion so Mal, Zoë, and Jayne can pull a heist. The three are having a standoff with fellow thief Ott and his gang, who were tipped off to the job by an unknown party. Ott demands the payload, and Mal agrees, not wanting to risk the lives of his crew. Pushing his luck, Ott then asks Mal to give up his gun, as well. Mal threatens Ott to back down, but he persists. Mal briefly muses on how his gun was one of two things that got him through the war, and stuck with him afterward (the other being Zoë). Mal drops his gun to the floor, but then kicks it into Ott's face, knocking out a few of his teeth. Ott orders his men to open fire, and a pitched firefight ensues. Ott's team retreats with the payload, while Mal, Zoë, and Jayne pursue. Ott's crew escapes the planet, after notifying the entire town of the heist. While the townspeople chase Mal and the others, thinking that they have the stolen money, Shepherd Book "borrow" (steals) a transport and the four make their escape.

With the townsfolk still in pursuit, Mal radios Wash, notifying him of the need to make a hasty escape. Wash and Kaylee use Serenity to knock over a water tower, stunning the pursuers long enough for the crew to escape.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Dobson, missing his right eye from his last encounter with Mal, is still on Whitefall where he was left during the pilot episode. Dobson seems to have carved out his own niche on Whitefall, complete with bodyguards and a lair. He has made a deal with the Hands of Blue, who have been trying to recapture Simon and River Tam. Dobson, obsessed with killing Mal, claims he has the perfect plan, and needed only Alliance clearance to make it easier.

After returning to Persephone, Badger approaches Serenity with a handful of goons to pitch a job to the crew. Not taking any chances, Zoë stuns Badger's hired muscle with fire-retardant gas as they attempt to board Serenity, and shoots them. Serenity takes off with Badger on board.

Badger explains to the crew that the Battle of Sturges (which he refers to as the bloodiest battle in the Unification War) was fought over a pile of money, which is supposedly still floating in the battlefield, unclaimed. Mal says that he'll consider the job, telling Badger to get off his ship "before the stain sets." They leave Badger in the desert of Persephone.

Mal gathers the crew, telling them that he's decided to take Badger's job. Inara asks him to take her to "duties" first, and Mal declines. Mal insists that the job is more important, and Book pushes Mal to reconsider. When Book reminds Mal that he gave Inara his word, Mal states that it means nothing. Mal provokes Book by saying that his word was no different from the Shepherd's preaching, and that when push came to shove, Book didn't pray, but stole a vehicle and did "what needs to be done to survive." Book punches Mal in the face.

The crew travel to the coordinates given to them by Badger. Mal, Zoë, and Jayne board one of the ships to look for the money. Once they reach the location Badger claimed the money would be at, it becomes clear that they have been set up. There is no money, and Dobson and his henchmen ambush the three, demanding "an eye for an eye." Mal tells Zoë and Jayne to "kill them all" once Dobson shoots him. Instead, they dispatch Dobson's men before he can fire a shot at Mal, who shoots out Dobson's other eye, killing him for good. Before leaving, Mal shoots him again, just to be sure.

While Mal, Zoë, and Jayne are fighting Dobson, the Hands of Blue attempt to sneak aboard Serenity. Due in part to River's psychic abilities, Simon, Inara, and Kaylee are tipped off to the fact that they may have visitors. After going to the cargo bay to investigate, Kaylee is attacked by one of the agents. Simon knocks the agent down with one of Jayne's weights, causing him to fall back into his ship. Kaylee closes the airlock and continually jerry-rigs it to keep the agents out (who are trying to bypass the lock). Wash flies Serenity through the remains of a derelict ship, knocking the agents' shuttle off of Serenity. Mal orders Wash to "step on it," having safely re-entered the ship along with Zoë and Jayne. The Hands of Blue are incinerated by Serenity's engine flare.

Mal finally drops Inara off, possibly on New Melbourne, and seems to not have given her the kind of goodbye he truly wanted to. Later, Shepherd Book stumbles upon Mal talking to himself, saying his true thoughts to Inara. Book tells Mal that he will be leaving Serenity, fearing that his time on the ship has been corrupting him.

The Alliance, having learned of the fate of the Hands of Blue, passes the assignment to retrieve the Tams to the Operative. He accepts the mission.

Memorable quotes[]

Mal: Look, Shepherd, I'll make this plain... it don't matter to me that you hit me.
Book: Which is exactly why I need to be away from you. Because sooner or later, it wont matter to me, either.

Badger: (offering Mal a job) What do you say?
Mal: I'll say I'll think about it. Now get off my ship before the stain sets.

Mal: ...I wish things could be different. It's just a decision I had to make.
Inara: (walking away, angry) Yes. The only one you ever do.
Mal: (exasperated, to group) Anyone else has words, now would be the time.
River: I hate that color on you. (beat) I always have.





Organizations and titles[]

Vehicles and vessels[]

Weapons and technology[]


Behind the scenes[]


Serenity: Those Left Behind was originally conceived as an animated series.[1]


Cover illustrations[]


Hardback edition cover. Art by Adam Hughes.

Each of the three issues was released with three different covers, with each cover featuring one of the nine major characters, and each one illustrated by a different artist. The series was collected into a single volume, with a cover by Adam Hughes. All issue covers also appear within the compilation.



Serenity: Those Left Behind' was originally released as a three-issue comic book series from Dark Horse Comics. The first issue was released on July 20, 2005,[10][11][12] the second on August 3, 2005,[13][14][15] and the third on September 9, 2005.[16][17][18] Each issue was released with three cover variants, for a total of nine covers—each one featuring a different member of the crew.[19]

In January, 2006, the series was collected as a trade paperback entitled Serenity: Those Left Behind. The novel included the art from all nine original covers included throughout. Additionally, Nathan Fillion wrote an introduction to this edition.[20]

On November 14, 2007, a special hardcover edition of Serenity: Those Left Behind was released. This edition featured a new cover by Adam Hughes, and showcases the work of penciller Will Conrad and colorist Laura Martin. It features pinups by several guest artists, and over a dozen backup pages that deal with the work and art behind the scenes.[21]


The miniseries was a success, and on February 11, 2006, Dirk Wood of Dark Horse Comics confirmed at the WonderCon convention in San Francisco that Joss Whedon is currently writing another Serenity comic[22]. The series—a three-issue arc entitled Serenity: Better Days was released in March 2008 and set during the continuity of Firefly. It deals with Serenity's crew pulling off an unprecedented successful job and their reactions to their resulting unexpected wealth.

Notable occurrences[]

  • Lawrence Dobson is revealed to be alive even after the occurrences of the pilot episode of Firefly.
  • This is the third and final appearance of the Hands of Blue, referred to here by the Alliance official in charge of the Tam operation as "Independent Contractors". There are several notable things about there appearance in the comic:
    • During the fight on Serenity, it is revealed that the blue material that gives the Hands of Blue their name also extends to (and covers) their torso. The purpose of this material was never directly revealed.
    • The suits of the Hands of Blue did not have lapels in their two television appearances, but in the comic, they do.
    • The sonic device employed by the two men has changed in appearance and in its effects: in the comic, it is smaller and metallic (not translucent blue) and it now melts their victim into what looks like a heap of boneless skin (whereas in the show, the victim merely hemorrhaged and collapsed).
  • Inara Serra leaves Serenity. Derrial Book states his intention of leaving.
  • The Operative makes his first appearance here, although he wears his sword at his side, rather than across his back, as he does in Serenity. The sword itself has a gold pommel here, as opposed to the silver color and slightly different shape seen in the film.
  • The twins, Fanty and Mingo, are first mentioned by Badger aboard Serenity. They are responsible for providing the crew with the payroll job pulled at the beginning of the film Serenity.

Notes and references[]

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