Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale

Finally released (after years of impatient waiting) is The Shepherd's Tale by Joss and Zack Whedon. This story answers the questions of the mysterious Shepherd Book, such as how does a preacher shoot a kneecap so well?

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!!

The story starts on Haven, the planet community that Book starts after he leaves Serenity (the ship). We actually are watching the very scene from the movie where Haven is destroyed, which is kind of depressing but does fill in some interesting backstory. Here is where we get my favorite quote of the book, from the good Shepherd himself:

"Well, if you look at your life as a chain of events, each responsible for the next and caused by the last, where does any story begin?"

As the scene continues and the fight begins, Shepard Book begins to flash back on his life and we jump back in time a few years to Book living on Serenity (the ship), observing the crew we all know and love. We see them through Book's eyes, as he observes them in their daily scraps, such as Jayne being Jayne or Mal fighting with a arms dealer. We can see the sadness in Book's eyes when he goes to his quarters to pray. As he prays for the crew, we jump backwards again to the Abbey he lived in before joining the Serenity. And back and back we go through his life, learning about how that man got to be our Shepherd Book.

This is a powerful story that really tries to explore what makes a man choose a path and how he lives with that choice. I, along with many Browncoats, did predict some of his past but Joss and Zack threw in a few twists that shocked and surprised me. I like surprises. Best of all, this helps to sum up a mystery left hanging for the past few years. I particularly like the one scene when Book really begins to see how the whole universe is connected and how everything depends on each other.

This "tale" was written by Joss and Zack Whedon, with the art of Chris Samnee. The brothers came together to write this, with Joss penning the outline of the story and Zack taking it from there. This has a strong resemblance to the show and really supports this character. I have read that the timeline in the book doesn't exactly match up to the show but in my opinion, it doesn't hurt the story at all. The art takes some time to get used to. At first, it did bother me because it seemed so dark and shaded, but once I began to see the whole book as a memory, it began to feel more comfortable. The story made the art work.

This is the third Firefly/Serenity comic from Dark Horse Comics and they have hinted that there will be more to come. If you haven't gotten it, go already and pick it up!!! This is a great story that everyone (especially Browncoats) should read. It would even make a great TV show...... :(