Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: I start fighting a war, I guarantee you'll see something new.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind is a six-issue comic book miniseries by Dark Horse Comics, set in the Firefly-verse and written by Zack Whedon, brother of Firefly creator Joss Whedon. It ran monthly from January to June 2014, with a hardcover omnibus published November 5, 2014.
Eight months after the events of the crew of Serenity revealing the Anglo-Sino Alliance's role in the creation of the Reavers and the deaths of thirty million people on Miranda, popular resistance to Alliance rule is mounting. Hunted by vengeful Alliance agents and still reeling from the deaths of Hoban "Wash" Washburne and Shepherd Derrial Book, Malcolm Reynolds and crew are in hiding in the fringes of the system, low on supplies and money and considering breaking cover just to find something to eat. But the Resistance finds them first.
The first issue won Diamond Comics Distributors's 2014 Gem Award for Licensed Comic of the Year. The omnibus edition also features a one-shot by Zack Whedon and Fabio Moon called "It's Never Easy".
- Absurdly Sharp Blade/Delayed Causality: The Operative chops Denon through the face with his sword, but it takes a second for the top of Denon's head to fall off.
- Bald Woman: Iris, a "complete" subject of the Academy. Kalista as well, as she's also a "complete" Academy subject.
- Battle Discretion Shot: The Showdown at High Noon between Zoe and the Operative at the end of the series. Zoe makes it clear she means to kill him to avenge Wash, but the shot cuts away before they attack each other. Zoe comes back to Serenity afterward alone.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: The Operative tells Kalista he would like to die "honorably", and she allows him to take up his sword so he may fall on it. Which is when the New Resistance turn into Big Damn Heroes.
- Big Bad: Kalista, the chief Operative and former Academy subject, who intends for River to rejoin the "family".
- Borrowed Catchphrase: At one point, while helming Serenity, River drops Wash's line "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." Don't worry, she doesn't die.
- Canon Foreigner:
- A woman named Bea, a leader in the New Resistance whose father died under Mal's command at Serenity Valley and who admires his legend.
- Two additional Operatives of the Parliament of comparable or greater lethality to "our" Operative, Denon and Kalista.
- Catapult Nightmare: Zoe has one after having a nightmare of Wash's death.
- Chekhov's Gun: One of the scientists who transformed River into a Tyke Bomb says she wasn't "complete", and sics Iris on them. Meanwhile, outside, the Operative surrenders rather than face Kalista. Kalista is another product of the same program that created River and Iris. Her Sci Fi Bob Haircut is a wig concealing the same heavily scarred head as Iris has.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: When the gang raids the lab where River was made, they encounter a "completed" version of River. Iris easily overpowers Mal (thrown knife to the neck), Jayne (dodges spread from Vera, kicks him in the groin, and breaks his elbow), and Bea (Pistol Whiped in the head with Vera), with only River managing to hold her off (and she still gets the crap beat out of her). River finally beats Iris when Mal throws her a hypo full of sedative that River jams into Iris' chest.
- Deadly Environment Prison: Zoe is sent to an Alliance Penal Colony on a planet where the terraforming didn't take, leaving it a barren desert. The prison camp doesn't have walls—if you leave any way but by ship, you die of thirst—and the guards don't bother breaking up fights between the inmates or bother to chase you if you run. Zoe excepted: the guards quickly pursue her once they realize she's running to meet Mal and the others, who came in on Serenity.
- Dirty Old Man: The elderly Academy scientist who tells River she was his "favorite."
- The Dreaded: When the Operative sees Kalista, he drops to his knees, and asks for a quick death.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Mal hits the whiskey after being forced to leave Zoe behind.
- Gender-Blender Name: Subverted. Zoe tells Kaylee she's naming her baby girl "Hoban" after her father (cue WTF from Kaylee), but she was joking: the kid's real name is Emma.
- Happy Ending Override: Serenity ended on a sombre but hopeful note — with resistance hopeful and the Operative trying to convince the Alliance that Mal and his crew are no longer a threat. That's all undone here: the Alliance in hell-bent on killing Mal and his crew forcing them on the run, Inara has been kicked out of the Companion's Guild for siding with Mal, and the Alliance kills most of the resistance to their rule.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Mal seeks the aid of the Operative to help him rescue Zoe. Nobody is happy about this.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Variation. Jubal Early captures most of Serenity's crew, but then Kaylee gets her revenge. With a pipe wrench to the face.
- Insatiable Newlyweds: Simon and Kaylee are a non married version, ever since hooking up in the Big Damn Movie. Results in at least two instances of Interrupted Intimacy.Zoe: Where's your brother and Kaylee?
River: Where do you think?
Zoe: Couple of rabbits, those two.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Kaylee and Simon twice, bookending the series. The first time is when Zoe goes into labor; they come into sickbay still sorting out their clothes. In the last issue, Mal calls down to the engine room for Kaylee to fire up the engines, interrupting her in the middle of having sex with Simon.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Faced with Kalista, the Operative lays down arms rather than trying to fight her. Turned on its head two pages later: Kalista knows that despite her skill being such that even the Operative doesn't want to face her, the crowd of Browncoats will overwhelm her by sheer numbers, so she cuts her way clear and skedaddles.
- La Résistance: The New Resistance, an anti-Alliance grassroots organization founded after the Miranda revelations. Actually funded and organized by Alliance black ops as a trap for would-be rebels, who are then slaughtered but for the ones who came with Serenity in a round of raids on their meeting sites.
- Maternity Crisis: Subverted. Zoe is very heavily pregnant and goes into labor in issue #1. Instead of her picking a bad time to give birth, she starts bleeding internally. Simon doesn't have the equipment to save her and Serenity is forced to break cover to get her to a hospital, where she's arrested.
- Military Brat: Bea's father served with Mal at Serenity Valley.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In addition to the crew being on the run, the Alliance apparently had Inara's Companion registration revoked.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Kaylee has this upon seeing Jubal Early take out Simon.
- River gives this reaction when Iris is unleashed.
- The Operative immediately surrenders upon seeing Kalista walk out.
- Commander Rodgers has this reaction when he learns Mal intends to have River scan his mind for Zoe's location.
- Penal Colony: After her operation, the Alliance commander hunting Serenity sends Zoe to a prison on a Single-Biome Planet where the terraforming didn't take, leaving it a barren desert world. So barren that the camp doesn't need walls and the guards don't even bother chasing Zoe when she makes a break for it until they see Mal and company coming to get her on the Mule.
- Pompous Political Pundit: The first issue opens on a talk show over the Cortex featuring two pundits arguing about whether the Miranda revelations are genuine or just anti-Alliance propaganda. The female one says the allegations should be investigated seriously, while the balding fat white guy calls Mal a traitor and resorts to ad hominems against Mr. Universe (calling him a pervert for his Robosexual tendency) to discredit the transmission.
- Relationship Upgrade: Inara and Mal have become a couple between the movie and the start of the series. They still argue quite a bit, though, so even taking care of their sexual tension didn't remove the "belligerent" part of their relationship.
- Resistance as Planned: Downplayed. While the Alliance didn't create the New Resistance, they did co-opt it, providing funding and organizational aid to bring it out into the open to make it easier to eliminate.
- Series Continuity Error: One scene has a New Resistance member suggesting Mal is hiding out on his homeworld, Shadow, with Bea retorting that Mal is too smart to hide at his house. Other material, including the RPG, stated that Shadow was glassed by the Alliance during the Unification War.
- Sequel Hook: Kalista is still out there, and she has Jubal Early and an army of completed Academy subjects at her hand.
- Showdown at High Noon: After the Operative helps rescue Zoe, she follows him into the woods and throws him a pistol, telling him that despite him helping save her, he still killed her husband and that debt can't be repaid. The scene ends with them standing under the trees waiting to draw. Next panel Zoe comes back to the ship alone, but it's not stated whether she killed the Operative.
- Significant Wardrobe Shift: Having been expelled from the Companion's Guild, Inara is now wearing more casual clothing.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Serenity Float Out established that Zoe was pregnant with Wash's daughter. She has the baby in the first issue of Leaves on the Wind and names her Emma.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Played with in regards to allying with the Operative. None of the crew are happy about working with him, given what he did to the people of Haven, particularly Book, but they all realize that they have no choice but to use him to save Zoe. After she's rescued, however, Jayne and Mal are debating which of them gets to shoot him. In the end, it's implied that Zoe does kill him.
- Time Skip: Starts eight months after Serenity.
- Torture Technician: Kaylee, of all people, threatens to torture Jubal Early after he's captured. To be fair, he did just take the crew hostage (which involved Pistol-Whipping both her captain and her boyfriend), and the last time he was on the ship, he did threaten to rape her, so she at least has a good reason to do this. In the end she ends up throwing him out with the trash. At high altitude.
- You Are Too Late: When Commander Rodgers explains that the Alliance had funded the New Resistance to bring it into the open so it could be eliminated, Bea hollers for the others to sound the alarm, but the commander says he called it in hours ago and those aboard Serenity are all that's left.