The six-issue series, written by Joss' brother Zack with art by Georges Jeanty, picks up the story roughly 39 weeks after the events of "Serenity," with the brilliant but mentally unstable youngster River Tam now in the pilot's seat and Wash's widow Zoe about to give birth.
In advance of the issues release, we hopped on the phone with Zack Whedon to discuss five key scenes (and one tease) in the issue that are sure to shock, delight, and seriously scare fans. So if you haven't headed to your local comic book shop yet, spoilers on:
The Big Bang
Captain Malcolm Reynolds and former professional "companion" Inara are having a conversation about needing money and food, and then all of a sudden they're naked and doing the nasty. In the TV series and movie, Mal and Inara's relationship had been stalled before it even really began. And now they're, you know, fully relating. So what's up?
"I imagine that they got together shortly after the events of 'Serenity,' " Whedon explained. "One thing that I wanted to do with this comic was eat up a lot of story; give the fans as much plot development as possible in the six issues, because it's been a long wait for this."
With Mal and Inara, Whedon preferred to cut to the chase instead of playing the "Will they or won't they?" game. "I think that's something that the fans have wanted to see for a long time, so hopefully it's satisfying."
The Big Bad
Mal's decision to loudly tattle on the Alliance at the end of "Serenity" has made him Public Enemy #1. "They want to get their hands on him more than ever," Whedon said. Of course this is a major obstacle to Mal's ultimate goal to remain free and anonymous.
The Alliance has been dented but not broken. "Even something that you would think would be devastating, like the news about Miranda, they are able to spin that story and deny, deny, deny and not be brought down by that," Whedon continued. And now there's ominous talk of a mysterious "resource" at their disposal in their quest to capture Captain Mal & Co. "The question of what that resource is will be answered in the series, and will become a problem for our crew."
With the help of Serenity's resident medical man Simon Tam, Zoe gives birth to an adorable baby girl named Emma. "I just remember [the name] feeling appropriate to the world of 'Firefly' and 'Serenity,' " Whedon said. "I wanted something that just felt sort of lovely and unaffected by all the terrible things that these people have gone through. Something pure."
Emma's birth, while joyful, brings a frightening medical complication for Zoe and necessitates an emergency detour for Serenity's captain and crew. "When it comes to Zoe, nothing else matters for Mal," Whedon said. "Whether it means incarceration or death, the most important thing is getting her safe. And that's a running concern throughout the comics."
The New Kid
In this issue we are introduced to a new player in the battle against the Alliance. Her name is Bea, and she's somewhat of a Mal Reynolds fangirl.
"She's sort of the next generation of people like Mal and Zoe, these fighters who really believe in their cause," Whedon explained. He also hinted that Bea's youth and radical ideas will cause friction between her and her idol as the story progresses.
"He has become an icon in this movement, and people have built up the myth of Mal Reynolds in his absence. So she expects a lot from him and that can lead to some trouble between them. But she's the future of the movement in a way."
Not even the great George Clooney can survive being set adrift alone in deep space... But apparently Jubal Early can. The batty bounty hunter who was bested by his intended target River Tam in the final episode of "Firefly" has returned... Somehow.
"I know that Joss wanted to bring that character back," Zack Whedon said.
And with Jubal, the key factor isn't how he managed to cheat death, but that he could. "That's something that's true of that character in my imagining of him, is that you cannot get rid of him. So I like to think of him as just the force that will keep coming and keep coming, and who has seen such incredible hardship in his life that there's no situation he can't bounce back from," Whedon said. "And that's true of the events that take place over these next several issues as well."
Whedon promised that the action in "Serenity: Leaves on the Wind" will continue at its pulse-quickening pace in Issue #2. "It's dealing with the immediate aftermath of Issue #1. So it doesn't span a lot of time."
As we've come to expect after more than a decade of "Firefly" stories, there's little rest ahead for our Big Damn Heroes. "There are some very pressing developments that force them into some tough situations."
"Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1" is on sale now from Dark Horse Comics.