FIREFLY: WATCH HOW I SOAR, available Wednesday from BOOM! Studios, provides some unique inside into a long-standing favorite from the show Firefly. Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne takes center stage for this adventure.
Perhaps this should go without saying, but if you’re a fan of Firefly, yet haven’t seen Serenity yet, don’t read Wash’s story, unless you want some major spoilers. Likewise, reading the rest of this review may not be the best idea.
Firefly: Watch How I Soar is a graphic novel that collects five stories of the one and only Wash, pilot of Serenity. These stories revolve around the ultimate fate for Wash, the one waiting for him at the end of Serenity.
Coming alongside these five stories is a massive creative team, with Jeff Jensen, Ethan Young, Jorge Corona, Jared Cullum, Giannis Milonogiannis, Jorge Monlongo, and Jordi Perez all lending a hand to make the project fly.
As mentioned above, there’s no escaping Wash’s fate in Firefly: Watch How I Soar. Naturally, that’s going to make this read a bit sobering, right out of the gate. These are the stories and images that popped into his head in those final moments.
Yet there is something beautifully uplifting about these five stories. Not just because they’re what Wash himself treasured, but because Wash truly was a positive person. Those bright traits shine through in, both in the subject and the writing itself.
The whole tale begins far in the past, showing off a very young (and adorable) Wash. It explains so much about his origins – and his fascinations. From there, the stories continue to show Wash growing up, making a point of showing those moments that helped make him the character we all know and love.
Except for the last story, which is quite the twist. I’m not entirely sure if this story helps to soothe the ache, or if it actually managed to tear open an old wound that fans had long thought healed. Perhaps it did a little bit of both.
Firefly: Watch How I Soar is a fantastic example of varied artwork. Each story, every single jump in time, brings with it a new style. It’s actually quite clever, and certainly worked well to keep things fresh.
The first art style portrayed has a very strong sense of flow, as Zoe and Wash sometimes literally float across the pages. It’s evocative, representing both their love, and the future that waits for Wash.
One of the most dramatic transitions makes a jump to what almost feels like watercolors, at least for a moment there. The colors are muted, with soft edges all around. Amazingly, that doesn’t take away any impact from Wash’s flying skills. If anything, it enhances them.
Other styles feel more classic, sometimes leaning towards a cartoon style. Each one has a different focus. The transitions in art style makes each change in scenery clear, without a word ever having to be spoken.
There are many details and moments worth noting and commenting on, but to talk about them in detail would spoiler many of the small surprises found within. One thing is clear, this entire graphic novel really did capture everything that made Wash who he is, and it shows.
Firefly: Watch How I Soar is a little bit of everything. It’s heartwarming, it’s heartbreaking. It is the past, and the future. Any fan of Wash will likely enjoy this collection, for the past it portrays, and the future that could have been.