Back in 2005 I remember going to the movie theaters to see “Land of the Dead” with my mom an equally rabid horror fanatic, and sitting down to watch the previews. I remember fondly sitting in front of the screen watching the trailer for the upcoming movie “Serenity” and marveled at how interesting it looked. It wasn’t love at first sight, it wasn’t immense curiosity, but just a mild interest that made me think about it and push it in to the back of my mind for a good while.
Months later prior to the unleashing of “Serenity” in to theaters, the Science Fiction channel in America aired a marathon of the entire “Firefly” and when I sat down to watch it from beginning to end it dawned upon me why “Firefly” was cancelled and taken off television so quickly many people didn’t even know it was on. “Firefly,” during the marathon, often began every episode with a brief prologue from Nathan Fillion explaining the basic premise of the series. And then it kind of saddened me that the producers or network simply didn’t have confidence in the show. And worse, they didn’t have confidence that the audience could play catch up.
Although folks like Quentin Tarantino and Joss Whedon have always pushed strong independent influential female characters on fans through their films and television series, they haven’t unfortunately been as widely accepted in pop culture as most of us would want. But the last few years saw a major turning of the tides with many hit shows featuring strong female characters like “Nikita.” Not to mention what with Scarlett Johannsen kicking ass as Black Widow in “Iron Man 2” and “The Avengers,” Zoe Saldana dominating in “The Losers” and “Colombiana,” or Rick Jacobson garnering a cult following with three ass kicking sexy lesbians in 2010’s “Bitch Slap.”
There’s also Noomi Rapace winning the hearts of film buffs everywhere as Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish critically acclaimed murder mysteries “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Disney’s “Tron Legacy” putting the gorgeous Olivia Wilde center stage as the enigmatic game heroine Quarra, and Zack Snyder giving us a super team of tough warrior women in his 2011 fantasy epic “Sucker Punch,” we thought we’d pay tribute to the bad ass chicks of pop culture that we loved and couldn’t get enough of. For those among you expecting the obvious, you will not be getting the typical list as we took about as much precaution to pick the more unusual characters we relish in reading and watching, those women who could kick your ass up and down the street and look good doing it.
After heavy consideration and much switching and deletion, here are warrior women you’d want in your corner during a when the chips are down.
One of the interesting aspects of this Star Wars and Serenity one shot is that writer Zach Whedon takes the time out not only to tell interesting stories in a little under fifteen pages, but he draws parallels between the Firefly and Star Wars universe that’s tough to ignore. Deep down Han Solo and Malcolm Reynolds are cut from the same cloth. They’re both street smart pirates, they both love what they do, they both can handle themselves in combat, and they both have creaky old ships that they’d rather die in before giving up. In “The Art of the Bad Deal,” Han and Chewie land on a distant planet where they’re having trouble trading with a particular alien species.
Shepherd Book is one of the greatest male characters of the Whedonverse, one who is bound by his strict sense of morality and religious beliefs, but one who isn’t at all overbearing. He uses his religion as an instrument to help and guide folks, he never uses it as a means of clubbing non-believers over the head. When we see him in the first episode of “Firefly” he meets a band of wicked sinners and criminals, but he never judges. He lives and lets live and that’s likely why he’s become such a beloved fixture of the “Firefly” universe for such a long time. He’s not only the heart of the crew, but he’s also the wise father everyone on the ship needs. By the time we reach “Serenity” and the crew are on their last options against the operative, even Mal has realized that Book is the man he needs in times of great stress who can offer wisdom, knowledge, and strategy where everyone clearly lacks it.
I would have killed to be in the audience of hardcore Browncoats as Wash led the Serenity through a swarm of deadly Reavers and land the ship within an inch of his life only to be impaled and die before our very eyes. I can only imagine the gasps and cries among the women as their favorite character died in a flash. Admittedly the “Firefly/Serenity” graphic novels and one-shots have been mixed. They range from mediocre to just plain abysmal, and leave it to nerd extraordinaire Patton Oswalt to take the reigns of the Whedon Universe and bring it down to its emotional core.
I didn’t want to admit it but… well… “Serenity: Better Days” sucked really badly. I kept insisting to myself that it was just mediocre, but re-reading the issues I can safely say that it sucks. If Whedon and co. were trying to show us what a poor imitation of “Firefly” would look like, then it worked. Thanks Joss. It was so bad I didn’t even finish the final issue. Yeah, that bad. So, along comes “Serenity: The Other Half,” a web exclusive mini comic book following the gang of “Serenity” in the middle of a gorram battle.
Yeah, if we’re supposed to enjoy this new miniseries, then I’m begging Dark Horse to stow these horrible covers. Not only are they completely out of character for the series, they’re also drawn terribly, and bear no likenesses to any of the characters. The cover to issue two has Book and Jayne smoking cigars and buddying it up, while Inara is lying there with a hand fan. It’s ugly, the colors are awful, and adds a camp that this show was never big on. It’s all supposed to be attached to form a fold out of the group raking in the money, but it’s just an eye sore. I’d take cheesy stock promotional photos as covers, over these any time of the week.
I’ll tell you what the fundamental problem with “Serenity: Better Days” is, so far. There’s too much fore-shadowing to “Serenity.” There’s so much it became pretty irritating to read at times. Wash makes a hint at the possible getting together of Kaylee and the Doc, and heck even the cover has Wash and Zoe holding hands. We know what happens in “Serenity,” there’s no need to keep connecting the dots to remind us this is a sequel to “Those Left Behind,” and the second part of the comic book prequel… you follow?