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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Firefly: Clipped Wings Firefly
"Clipped Wings"
Firefly #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Dan McDaid
Colored by Macelo Costa
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Cover by Lee Garbett
November 2018


Losing her starboard engine and chased by Alliance deputies known as the Unificators, Serenity is forced to land on an outer world moon to hide and seek repairs.


Notes from the Firefly/Serenity Chronology


On page 6, Mal remarks that the ship will have to set down at a nearby moon for engine repairs, which will delay Inara's leaving the ship. Inara had announced her wish to depart at the end of "Heart of Gold" and was preparing to do so in the last episode of the TV series "Objects in Space". She is still aboard for the "Better Days" comic book mini-series and finally does leave in "Those Left Behind" Part 3. Hence, this story would seem to take place shortly after "Better Days" and before "Those Left Behind" Part 1.


Didja Know?


The issues of this series were untitled. I came up with the title "Clipped Wings" from a paraphrasing of dialog in the issue about the loss of Serenity's starboard engine. 


    The letters column of this issue features letters from fans expressing their joyous reactions to the news that BOOM! would be publishing an ongoing Firefly comic book. Fan Milan Pohl asks if stories will pick up where the series previously published by Dark Horse Comics (titled Serenity) left off at the end of the "No Power in the 'Verse" mini-series. The editors respond that they're "forging our own path with the Firefly gang...we don't have any plans to continue on with Dark Horse's wonderful series as of right now." As a continuity buff, it's always disappointing to hear this kind of thing from a new publisher of a licensed property. When Dark Horse was publishing the Firefly/Serenity comics, series creator Joss Whedon had stated that those stories would be canon in his Firefly are they still canon and the BOOM! series will not be?! Or are the Dark Horse stories suddenly no longer canon?!

    Regardless, as long-time readers know, PopApostle's industrious staff of analysts and writers will find a way to fold all these stories into a (relatively) seamless stream of coherent chronology in a tumultuous timeline!


The variant cover by Jock for this issue depicts the globe of Mars even though that planet is far removed from the 'Verse.
Jock cover Mars photo
Jock cover Mars (photo from NASA)



Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

Shepherd Book
Brother Philip
Brother Jacob
Radiant Cobb (Jayne's mother, mentioned only)
Pilgrims of Moriah
Chang Benitez gang


Didja Notice?


On page 2, Wash complains that Mal bought a third-hand brown-market knockoff of the thruster interface for Serenity's starboard engine instead of the OEM he specifically asked for. OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer". I'm not sure exactly what the brown market is, another type of black market, I suppose.


On page 6, Mal drinks from a coffee mug that has BEST CAPTAIN printed on it and Zoe appears to have a mug with ZOE on it.


The interior look of Serenity in this story seems to be closer to the "refurbished" look originally introduced in the Serenity movie (see "Triggered") and we also see that the crew use the hover-mule. In the study of "Triggered", I speculated that Mal finally managed to sell the Lassiter (the extremely valuable antique laser gun the crew stole in "Trash" and were later said to be having trouble unloading in "The Message") and used his share of the money to have an overhaul and other modifications made on Serenity, as well as purchase the hover-mule to replace the ground-based ATV seen in the TV series (which was heavily damaged in "War Stories"). In the novel Big Daman Hero, taking place shortly after "The Message", the hover-mule is seen already on board Serenity.


On page 8, after the ship comes under attack, Jayne complains that it must be the feds or more bounty hunters coming for River and Simon. The feds have been looking for River for some time and bounty hunter Jubal Early boarded Serenity in an attempt to capture River in "Objects in Space". The feds later come after her in the "Those Left Behind" comic book mini-series.


This issue introduces the Dreadnaught 44 Alliance army heavy cruiser from the first days of the Unification War. Most are stated to have been decommissioned.


The moon Serenity sets down on is Bethlehem, known for its number of holy sites. This is the first mention of this world in the Firefly universe. The moon is surely named after the city of Bethlehem in the country of Israel on Earth-That-Was, said to be be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the Bible.


On page 16, panel 2, Wash is playing with a couple of his dinosaur figures as if they were fighting and making the sounds, "GRR, ARRG." This is the sound effect of the end credits logo of Joss Whedon's production company Mutant Enemy Productions when a cartoon vampire crosses the screen; the sound is voiced by Whedon himself. Mutant Enemy was, of course, the production company behind the Firefly TV series.


On page 22, the holo-message from the Unificators states information "first" seen (though not chronologically) in the deleted scenes on the Serenity movie Blu-ray bonus material, that Mal was a member of the 57th Overlanders as a Sergeant for the Browncoats in the war. The message also refers to Mal's alias of Captain Harbatkin, an alias he also used in "Safe".


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