For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Adventures of Jack Burton ] Back to the Future ] Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] The Fly ] Galaxy Quest ] Indiana Jones ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Matrix ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Sapphire & Steel ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] Waterworld ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Firefly: Return to Earth-That-Was (Part 2) Firefly
"Return to Earth-That-Was" Part 1
Firefly #25
BOOM! Studios
Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Pius Bak
Colored by Marcelo Costa
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Cover A by Bengal
January 2021


A few years after the crew's defeat of Blue Sun, the crew is divided and seeking divergent fortunes on two different ships.


Notes from the Firefly/Serenity Chronology


This storyline takes place "a few years down the line." "Return to Earth-That-Was" Part 8 has a flashback to "one year ago", when Shepherd Book was still alive and leading the Haven colony. Book and Wash are deceased by the time of our current story, so it must take place about a year after the events of the Serenity movie, wherein the two were killed (covered on PopApostle in "Triggered", "A Better World", and "Living Weapon").


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue




Shepherd Book (mentioned only, deceased)



Mal (mentioned only)

Ma Reynolds (mentioned only, deceased)

Wash (mentioned only, deceased)

Maggie (possibly Queen of the Dark)













Didja Notice?


On pages 1-2, Lank is singing a song. The lyrics are from "Shall We Gather at the River?" (originally titled "Hanson Place") by American gospel music composer and poet Robert Lowry (1826–1899) in 1864. This same song appeared (in part) in "The Spilling of Blood".


On page 2, Zoe's scouting troop discovers the remains of an Alliance B86 starcraft. This is the first mention of such a model in the 'Verse.


On page 3, the body of what PopApostle has referred to as a Robomal (see "Blue Sun Rising" Parts 3-6) is, in this issue, referred to for the first time as a "cop bot".


There are now memorial photos mounted in the corridor of Serenity of deceased crew and friends, specifically Shepherd Book, Wash, and Ma Reynolds. This is the first indication that Ma Reynolds is deceased at the time of this story; she was still living at the end of her last appearance in "Blue Sun Rising" Part 7.


On page 6, the female bounty hunter mistakenly refers to Wash's photo as that of Wash Hoburn. His real name is Hoban Washburne.


Kaylee is now the captain of Serenity by this time.


Zoe's crew is still using the cargo shuttle she started using in "Duty Calls".


Page 18 suggests that it has been years since Kaylee's crew has seen Zoe's crew and that Zoe is fearful that River could hurt Emma if they were reunited. But, as mentioned in the chronology notes above, "Return to Earth-That-Was" Part 8 has a flashback to "one year ago", when Shepherd Book was still alive, which would be before the events of the Serenity movie, ("Triggered", "A Better World", and "Living Weapon") wherein the crew is all together, so it's actually been less than a year that the two crews have been separated.


On page 19, Kaylee remarks on a time Jayne beat up on some previous bounty hunters on Barstop. This is the first mention of a world by that name in the 'Verse.


On page 25, Kaylee remarks that the portal ring found in space by the bounty hunters appears to have been made from a reworked tractor beam housing. The only previous appearance (though not by name) of a tractor beam in the 'Verse was when Serenity was captured by one installed on an Alliance Tohoku-class cruiser in "Bushwhacked".


On page 27, Lank tells Zoe they're going to need more fuel before making a long trek and that he will check the brown market. A so-called "brown market" was also mentioned by Wash in "Clipped Wings".


Also on page 27, Lank and Zoe discover a "job wanted" listing on Regina over the cortex, allegedly from the deceased Wash. The planet Regina was mentioned in a few past stories. Wash died in "Living Weapon".


On page 29, Zoe walks into a bar on Regina that appears to be called Starship Boozers. This may be a play on the title of the 1959 Robert A. Heinlein novel and 1997 film Starship Troopers.


Seemingly, Wash is found alive on Regina at the end of the issue, but it turns out there is more to the story than that.


Back to Firefly/Serenity Episode Studies