The Shepherd’s Tale, by Joss & Zack Whedon
Posted November 8, 2010on:
GraphicNovelNovember continues with some Brothers Whedon. Joss Whedon took fandom by storm with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Dollhouse might not have been a hit, but any comicshop worth it’s weight in Darkhorse knows carrying anything Firefly, Buffy, or Angel will bring in the Browncoats.
If you are a Serenity/Firefly fan, I shouldn’t have to tell you The Shepherd’s Tale by Joss and Zack Whedon is a must have. There is no more mysterious character in the Firefly storyline than Shepherd Book. He’s a preacher who knows how to fight, a renegade who carries legitimate Alliance ID papers. He is a man made entirely of secrets, and this is your chance to learn them.
Shepherd’s Tale starts off right before the movie Serenity starts. Haven is under attack, and Shepherd quite literally sees his life pass before his eyes, in reverse order. Once upon a time, we met Shepherd on the pilot episode of Firefly, when Kaylee asked him where he was headed, and he said he didn’t know. One box of strawberries later, and Shepherd has bought passage on Serenity, to wherever it happens to be going. How could we have known he had just, that morning, left the monastery?
And what led him to join a monastery, to pledge his life to God, in the first place? What does a man go through to realize his only hope is start over? I won’t spoil anything for you, just to say that Zack Whedon did the character justice. More than once I said “no way!” out loud while reading. Who he was, what he went through, the things he did, Serenity truly is the place for him.
Graphic novels aren’t cheap, and this one’ll cost ya about fifteen bucks. If you’re a Serenity fan, I say go for it. The hardback covers are a nice surprise as well. It’s not the longest graphic novel you’re ever going to read, but I gotta say, when I got to the last page, I felt it was the right place for the story to end.
The only downside of Shepherd’s Tale is the artwork. I don’t know if it was a stylistic choice, to draw everyone who wasn’t Shepherd Book in a rotoscoped/impressionist style, but let’s just say it’s a good thing I already know who all these people are. The artwork is pretty blah, but if you are an obsessive browncoat (and what browncoat isn’t?) you’ll want to add The Shepherd’s Tale to your collection.