My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Those Left Behind is a collection of a six-issue run that served as a prequel to the events of the movie Serenity. When Mal’s latest payday scheme goes south, the crew of the Serenity take a job from Badger that he promises will pay off big. Little do they know that they’re being led unwittingly into the clutches of various bounty hunters who have teamed up to kidnap their elusive prey: River Tam & Malcolm Reynolds.
The story moves quickly & feels like it could have been an episode of the show. (Perhaps it was?) As a result, Behind leaves a lot unexplained & I have a few quibbles with that. The Big Baddies from the original run of the series are dispatched quickly with little explanation of their origins. The fight(s) on the abandoned space battlefield are visually cool but questionable. (What happened during the past battle? And why are all the bodies unclaimed, the ships unsalvaged? I know Mal & Zoe know the history, but we readers do not.) But, I admit that these questions could very well be explained by further installments such as Serenity: Better Days & Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale. As Behind is though, I would recommend it to fans who fall on the intermediate-to-diehard range of fandom who are looking for more detail on their favorite franchise. Taken by itself, Those Left Behind will not sate your appetite, even with the nifty afterword that outlines the general ideas of how the ‘Verse came to be.