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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"It's Never Easy"
Serenity: Firefly Class 03-K64 (Dark Horse)

Script: Zack Whedon
Pencils and Inks: Fabio Moon
Cover: Daniel Dos Santos


A would-be hijacker, plotting to take Serenity, gets the drop on Mal.


Read the full story summary at the Firefly/Serenity Database


Notes from the Serenity chronology


The inside front cover only notes that this story takes place after the events of the film Serenity (see "Living Weapon"). On the first page of the story, Zoe is depicted as well-along in her pregnancy, revealed to readers previously in "Float Out", so this story must take place some time after that.


Didja Know?


This one-shot story was a promotional issue released for Free Comic Book Day 2012, a yearly event started in 2002 in which participating comic book stores provide free copies of specially-produced promotional comics to their visitors.


The "Firefly Class 03-K64" subtitle of the issue is a reference to the Firefly model number of Serenity, as spoken by River in "The Train Job".


All issues of Serenity comic books published after this also included the "Firefly Class 03-K64" subtitle. This was probably an attempt to make it a bit easier find in internet search results for fans who were searching for Firefly stories/merchandise. Twentieth Century Fox owns the rights to the name Firefly but creator Joss Whedon owns the rights to the franchise itself, rebranded as Serenity.


Didja Notice?


The small lizard-like creature on page 1 does not appear to be of an Earthly variety. I believe this would make it the first extra-terrestrial life-form seen in the series. It's never really been made clear how much, if any, native life was on the worlds of the Verse before humanity terraformed them. I suppose it's vaguely possible that Earth life seeded on the world for ecological purposes could have evolved a different look as part of an adaptation to the environment, but it doesn't really seem like enough time could have passed for such noticeable evolution to occur.


On page 1, we see that Wash's dinosaurs have been left in place on the pilot's console even months after his death.


On page 3, Mal remarks to Frosty, seeking a ride anywhere "off this rock" aboard Serenity, that he wouldn't be their first passenger lacking a destination. This is actually true of all the main non-crew characters of the series, Inara, River, Simon, and Book. In particular, Mal may be referencing to Shepherd Book, who boarded the ship in "Serenity", concerned more with the voyage than the destination.


Mal watched the rest of the crew ride off in the hovermule on page 2, panel 1, though we only see a silhouette of the vehicle speeding off, so can't really make out the individual passengers. Yet, despite having watched it leave, he later seems surprised that River is still aboard ship. Didn't he see who was in the hovermule?


As mentioned above, Mal watches the crew take off in the hovermule and seems to immediately turn and see Frosty ride up on his horse. Yet, after a brief confrontation between Mal, Frosty, and River, the crew is already arriving back at the ship having picked up their cargo in town! How'd they make it so quick? Yes, the town is seen only a short distance away from Serenity, parked in the desert, but it would still take some time to get there, find their contact, introduce themselves, load the cargo onto the hovermule and return. And why would the entire crew, minus Mal and River, all go into town for such a short visit?


Speaking of the crew riding in the hovermule, how did they all fit on it (we don't get a good look at it in the artwork)? It's only a four-passenger vehicle. I suppose it's possible, if the cargo was small, that the fifth member sat in the cargo section.


Notice on page 9 that Inara is still with the Serenity crew, having returned for an indefinite amount of time by the end of "Living Weapon".


Unanswered Questions


On which world does this story take place? The terrain we see is desert-like and Mal and Zoe remark to each other about how Mal shot a number of locals the last time they were there. It might be Whitefall from "Government Goods" where Mal and his crew killed a number of Patience's men. Or it could be the unnamed desert location from "Heart of Gold" where they also killed a number of men employed by local crime lord Burgess. Of course, it may also be a world from a story yet to be chronicled. 


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