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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Firefly: River Run Firefly
"River Run"
Firefly: River Run
BOOM! Studios
Written by David M. Booher
Illustrated by Andres Genolet
Colored by Mattia Iacono
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Cover by Christian Ward
September 2021


Simon Tam is determined to rescue his little sister from the depredations of the Alliance Academy.


Notes from the Firefly/Serenity Chronology


This story takes place before the events of "Serenity" and tells of how Simon arranged to rescue River from the Alliance Academy.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue




the Cowboy

Alliance soldiers

Gabriel Tam


Regan Tam

Valum Camberson

Academy guards

Academy doctor (Dr. Mathias?)


Didja Know?


Firefly: River Run is a one-shot comic book story published by BOOM! Studios in 2021. 


Didja Notice?


Page 1 reveals that River was born at Capital City Hospital. This is the same hospital on Osiris at which Simon will later become a trauma surgeon. The drug bottle seen on page 6 and a sign outside the hospital on page 12 indicate the full name of the hospital is Capital City Memorial Hospital.


On page 1, River is using the "two by two, hands of blue" phrase she will later use in "The Train Job".


On page 3, panel 2, there is a stray quotation mark on the trespassing sign that isn't there in panel 1.


On page 10, Simon reflects on his mother's desire to see him join the Medical Elect. This was mentioned in a flashback scene by her in "Safe".


On page 13, River is excited to steal and eat a few hodgeberries on the Camberson property. She is also seen to have a fondness for hodgeberries in  "Safe". As far as I know, hodgeberries are a fictional fruit; they must be native to one of the worlds humans settled on after the exodus from Earth-That-Was.


On page 14, panel 4, Simon says something in Chinese and his dialog there is written in Chinese characters. Any PopApostle readers know what it says?


On page 16, Simon uses sap from an aloe osiri plant to reduce the pain of River's skinned knee. River says it is the smallest species in the aloe family, growing exclusively on Osiris. Aloe is a real world genus of succulent plants, though aloe osiri is, of course, fictitious (unless it is a renamed species already found on Earth). Some types of aloe are known to have medicinal properties, as seen here.


The Academy doctor seen administering to River throughout this story seems, from the circumstances, to be the same doctor seen in the opening flashback sequence of Simon's rescue of River in "Triggered", but he looks very different. The doctor is not named here, but is called Dr. Mathias in "Triggered".


On page 19, the Academy doctor uses a hypnotically implanted code phrase to stop River's violent attack and put her to sleep. It is "Eto kuram na smekh." This is Russian for "even chickens will laugh at that", which is a Russian idiom meaning "that's absurd". Simon also uses this code phrase on River in "Triggered".


Simon's rescue of River from the Academy on pages 37-38 does not quite match the way it was depicted in "Triggered".


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