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Joseph Hill "Joss" Whedon (born June 23, 1964), is an American screenwriter, executive producer, director, occasional composer and actor, and founder of Mutant Enemy Productions. He is best known as the creator and showrunner of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Angel (1999-2004), and Firefly (2002), which have also seen popular comic book adaptations, published by Dark Horse Comics and IDW.
Those who watched Firefly and Serenity are aware of Book's implied rich past. As the series was unfortunately canceled, we find out very little and all sorts of questions remain open. When I first saw this novel available for sale, I expected it to provide some relief for my curiosity.
To put it bluntly, I am very disappointed. The biggest problem is the extremely short length. You could easily fit all the text on a single page and I could tell you the whole story in 60 seconds. One would expect a book published with the purpose of filling in the gaps of a story to do the thing properly. This doesn't even come close. Furthermore, there are a number of inconsistencies, and we arguably end up with more questions than before.
/* SLIGHT SPOILER */ We know that Book had ties to the Alliance (from that Firefly episode where they heal his wounds), but we find out that there was a "falling out" and they (quite literally) threw him out. Why they would treat him as a VIP, save his life and then let them go (as was done in Firefly) is a complete mystery and we're, once again, left hanging. /* END SPOILER */
Basically, this is a bad fanfic. Save your money and pretend it doesn't exist.
It's $15 for 56 pages. Please stop and consider that for a moment. I know it's Serenity. I know it's hard bound. This is a great property and a great publisher, but this is an obvious attempt to overcharge a fan base. Other licensed titles in hardcover format do not cost this much. I will not buy this book as I don't want to see more of this. Eventually it will be collected in a trade or an omnibus. I can wait. I read it in the store yesterday, which I am not a fan of, but in this case I felt obligated.
As someone else pointed out, the big question from the tv show, namely why is Book given a warm reception on the alliance ship, isn't even answered. It actually seems to contradict the show. It isn't worth $14.99 or even $8.49 with the Amazon discount. There is no reason this couldn't have been a $5.99 double issue, other than to exploit die-hard fans. If you have tons of cash, you're already gonna order this, but if you are a Serenity/Firefly fan on a budget, you are gonna feel ripped off. Please just browse this in a store and see for yourself.
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Others have pointed out the problems with this - big and small - before, but I just read it and I want to vent a little bit.
There is nothing about this comic book that warrants it to be a published comic book where they charge people money. There is no story to speak of (unless you count a screwy plan to turn Shepherd Book into a cyborg double agent....which is actually the climax of the comic) and the artwork literally looks like the storyboards for a movie that were drawn up over coffee just before filming. (The artist might have great talent, I don't know, but it's definitely not in the comic.)
The biggest point of a Shepherd Book comic is obviously to reveal (a) what horrible sins he committed that he was repenting for throughout the series and (b) why the Alliance held him in such high esteem that they overlooked his involvement with a gang of thugs to give him VIP medical care. The comic book does a lousy job of answering the first and doesn't answer the second and, in fact, contradicts the TV show.
The first point was based off of an enigmatic incident in the episode 'Safe'. In that episode, Shepherd Book has been wounded and, hoping for some mercy, the crew takes him to an Alliance spaceship that has medical facilities. The Alliance rejects their plea for help until they look at Shepherd's "ident-card" at which point he's given emergency VIP treatment. Why would the Alliance treat some religious guy with such esteem?
So, you think that maybe Shepherd is maybe some sort of Alliance spy. Or maybe he was an assassin and did a favor for some high-level Alliance politician and that's the sin he's repenting for, too. (This latter notion would also match up with what Shepherd said in the movie, 'Serenity'.Read more ›
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I have huge respect for anyone other than Joss Whedon, even if its his brother, trying to write something on Serenity and make people happy. However this story was off to me for two reasons. The first will be far more relevant to most people.
The number one reason why the story seemed a little off to me is that it was simply FAR to short. You get a brief overview of events without any real detail and then all of the sudden you are back another six years further into the past of Shepherd Book. Although what was in the book was enjoyable I was inevitably disappointed by the lack of material. It was like being able to only look at pictures from someones past when you know there is a movie about it somewhere, it was insufficient.
On the same point, the chronology seems strange. This is not to say it is right, it is just hard to put into context when all that has been written about the universe is confined to a small time period. This is the end of what normally constitutes a review for a book so you can stop here with me saying a nice read but overall somewhat disappointing knowing the amount of depth of the character that could have been explored and the cost of the book.
Now to my second complaint.Please if you are going to read this part read to the end so you understand why I am saying what I am saying, besides my desire to discuss the issue.
The way the book handles race is atrocious. No where do you meet people any people who are not white except when it fits into a modern stereotype. The story is set 500 years into the future, and manages to show women in equal or at least somewhat more equal status, yet it fails to show race progressing past the stereotypical surface point that it now occupies.Read more ›