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09 November, 2011
Book Review: The Shepherd's Tale (Serenity, #3) by Zack Whedon, Joss Whedon, Chris Samnee, Dave Stewart (Artist), Steve Morris (Artist)
One of the big storyline mysteries that never got answered due to the show Firefly being canceled was “Who is Sheppard Book?” We are given hints that he is more than he seems throughout the short series. He is a man of great faith, with a shadowed and secret past. In the graphic novel The Shepherd’s Tale, we are shown who this mystery preacher really is, and how he ended up on the firefly captained by Mal, Serenity.
One thing I enjoyed about the book was the fact that it starts at the end of Shepherd Book’s life and goes back down to him being a young man living life on the streets. It peels back the layers composing Book’s past. However, this was short . Zack Whedon stated in the foreword that this was based off of notes/timeline written by Joss Whedon. It feels like that at times when reading. The story is presented in a very bare bones way that while answering the question of who is shepherd Book leaves the reader wondering more about Book himself. While answering the question of his past, the vignettes of his history don’t always feel like they are fleshing out the character. My favorite portion of the story is when Book finds faith in a bowl of soup…
I’ve seen many comments in negative regards as to the artist chosen for this graphic novel. I will say now that I absolutely enjoyed artist Chris Samnee’s interpretation of the Firefly universe. Dark and gritty at times, the images capture the story fantastically. The complaints that I read, where mainly centered around the fact that the few images of the crew of Serenity don’t look exactly like the show. But, I thought the artist captured Book with great depth. The thing I love about graphic novels is that you get to see what the story looks like through the imagination of the artist. While this book does not match the earlier graphic novels it stands on its own for it’s own style of drawing involved in it.
As a fan of the series, I was excitedly waiting for the release of this graphic novel. Despite the reservations I had regarding the story I found myself drawn in to it. I miss this fictional universe, quite a lot, so being able to visit it again was fantastic. This is definitely a book for the fans, and I am looking forward to more comic/graphic novel forays into it in the future from Joss & Zack Whedon.