Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale
Writing: Zack Whedon
Art: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Steve Morris
Publisher: Dark Horse
Browncoats the world over have speculated all sorts of background stories for our mysterious man of the cloth. The long awaited story of our dear Shepherd Book is finally here.
The Whedon brothers teamed up on this project with Zack fleshing out notes Joss scribbled down between projects. The result is a is a series of flashbacks pealing back the layers of this complex soul. You may think you’ve got an idea about his history. You are probably right.. to a point. Then the story peals back a layer, and then another. Between those layers there is the glue that holds them together.
The “real” Derrial Book is a far more complicated creature than any of us could have imagined. The story begins in a time and setting we all know quite well and falls back in time to his childhood. Every six pages or so, just as we think we understand one facet of his past, it is illuminated with a new light that shakes our understanding of all of the preceding revelations.
Though I’ll admit the story left me a bit wanting for more at first, ultimately I’m quite satisfied with how it played out. I think it was a difficult story to tell in any medium. To capture the defining moments of a man’s life from birth to death is no easy task. The mechanisms by which we get to know this character are both clever and discrete. Zack Whedon did an impressive job in polishing the imperfect gem that is the life of a man.
Equally enjoyable was Chris Samnee’s artwork. The characters are presented in great representation of the actors we fell in love with on the screen. The artwork is not excessively detailed, which I quite enjoy. The backgrounds are muted and plain giving enough detail to create the setting with out distracting the focus from the characters and the story. The coloring is in a uniquely grainy, but mostly earthy tone that really fits the mood of the story very well.
I preordered the hardcover edition day one. The book is very nicely constructed with a glossy photo wrapped cover. The cover artwork (as seen above) genuinely reflects the contents. The pages in the book are a nice heavy matte. The overall presentation is a very nicely put together product.
In every way I can think of analyzing this book, it is a superior specimen. Full marks all the way.