Exclusive Dark Horse Preview & Interview: Chris Roberson Finds Serenity with No Power In The ‘Verse

Comics Features Chris Roberson
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Exclusive Dark Horse Preview & Interview: Chris Roberson Finds <i>Serenity</i> with <i>No Power In The &#8216;Verse</i>

The past looms large in Joss Whedon’s canonized sci-fi TV series, Firefly, and the spinoff film and comics that followed. Old resentments—whether from the civil war that provides the backdrop of the fiction or sinister government experiments—continue to spark conflict, leading to all manner of tension, both between Malcolm Reynolds and his crew aboard the ship Serenity and the disparate characters they encounter on a host of worlds.

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The new Dark Horse miniseries No Power in the ‘Verse revolves around a group of resistance fighters whose frustrations have curdled into something more sinister. Paste discussed the new project with writer Chris Roberson (the co-creator of iZombie is no stranger to TV and comic crossbreeding) about the making of the book, his collaboration with artist Georges Jeanty and more. Serenity: No Power In The ‘Verse #1 debuts today; check out exclusive art and variant cover previews below.
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Paste: The story of No Power in the ‘Verse includes some references to the events of [2014 miniseries] Leaves on the Wind. Do you see this as a continuation of the earlier story, or something that can work as a standalone series?

Chris Roberson: It’s really a combination of the two. We do pick up on threads that were introduced in previous stories, but No Power in the ‘Verse was structured so that it could be read and appreciated by someone who was coming to this without having previously read Leaves on the Wind. (Of course, I think everyone SHOULD read Leaves on the Wind because it’s a fantastic story!)

Paste: What was your first exposure to these characters? As both a reader and a storyteller, what do you find most appealing about the setting of Serenity?

Roberson: I was in the front row when “The Train Job” first aired on Fox back in 2002, and I’ve been an avid fan of the characters ever since. I’ve always been really drawn to the richness of the ‘Verse as a setting, and the ways in which its history echoes our own in creatively fruitful ways.

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Interior Art by Georges Jeanty

Paste: What has your writer/artist relationship with Georges Jeanty been like on this project?

Roberson: It’s been immensely rewarding. Georges is of course a fantastic artist, and so it’s always a thrill to see what he does with the scripts. But it’s also be a really fruitful collaboration, with Georges suggesting story beats even as the scripts were being written. There’s a moment in the second issue with Jayne that was entirely Georges’ idea, but I loved it so much that we ended up developing it into a plot thread that carried through the rest of the series.

Paste: The story of No Power in the ‘Verse has ties to the Unification War that preceded the events of the series so far, and involves references to The Peacemakers, a splinter faction of resistance fighters whose methods became increasingly horrific over time. There are plenty of real-world examples of this: were there any specific ones that you wanted to echo?

Roberson: There isn’t a one-to-one correlation, but I did draw some inspiration from soldiers in the South after the American Civil War, and the ways in which that lingering Confederate resentment gave rise to unpleasantness that continued long after the war ended.

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Interior Art by Georges Jeanty

Paste: What are some of the challenges you’ve found in writing characters who have such recognizable voices?

Roberson: It’s largely just been a question of watching and rewatching the series and the movie over and over again. But considering that Firefly is one of my favorite TV series, I’m not complaining!

Paste: No Power in the ‘Verse opens with a heist sequence, which neatly establishes the cast of characters. Did you envision this as a standalone sequence, or will it end up having larger repercussions in future issues?

Roberson: The purpose of that sequence was primarily to establish the state of the characters at this point in their history, and in particular where the relationships between them stand. And as the story progresses we’ll see how well those different relationships bear up under pressure (or don’t, as the case may be).

Paste: You’ve written a lot of creator-owned work along with output in various fictional universes. What are some of the ways in which you make some corner of a pre-existing setting your own?

Roberson: I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in my comics career in that I’ve gotten to write stories featuring many of my favorite fictional characters or set in some of my favorite fictional worlds. I’m a fan of those universes, first and foremost, and so when these opportunities come along, what I’m really doing is writing the kind of stories that I as a fan would like to see, focusing on the aspects of those characters and their worlds that appeal most to me.

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Interior Art by Georges Jeanty

Serenity: No Power In The ‘Verse Variant Covers

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Cover Art by Georges Jeanty

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Cover Art by Ramon Perez

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Cover Art by Yuko Shimizu

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Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse #1 Cover Art by Francesco Francavilla

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