These indy-comic reviews are really making me new friends. People seem to like being introduced to new artists and artists seem to like being introduced to new people. In other words, if you’re a comic creator looking for a review, feel free to email us. We make a simple deal with all authors. We will never post a bad review. If we don’t like it we’ll tell you, but that’s it. No one here at World News Center is into trying to ruin careers. Especially when those people tend to come back and become J.K. Rowling or someone like that.
Today’s review is a little something different. There is no way to review this story without reviewing the authors. Andrea Lorenzo Molinari is a theologian. As of this writing, his son, Roberto Xavier Molinari is an undergraduate majoring in physics. The plot is based on a nightmare Andrea had involving the death of his son. Yeah, “happy” is not a word I’m going to use here today. The book exists because said child badgered his poor father into memorializing it. The world of graphic novels is a better place due to that kid.
To gather a little better idea of what you’re getting into I’m going to start at the end, in the post-script which appears after issue number five. There, they explore, and explain via historical context, the concept of apokatastasis. It is a Greek noun, that part’s easy, but it’s also an underlying principle of various philosophies. That part’s hard. Essentially it means a complete restoration, a reconstitution, re-establishment and/or return.
So, we’ll start there. The protagonist of the book, Lawrence, opens the story by walking through a graveyard, hounded by a hellish wolf/dog, and explaining that he really hopes you like ghost stories. He has a good reason for that hope. He’s dead.
The story is told entirely through Lawrence’s eyes, usually in the first person, and, as a technique, it works surprisingly well. The graveyard I mentioned earlier is where his mortal remains have been laid to rest, if not his soul.
He walks the nether realm between the living and the dead looking for the soul of his son who died of an accidental overdose. That’s a simplistic rendition of a plot that encompasses death in its myriad forms; suicide, murder, natural, you name it. And Lawrence deals with, or simply deals, them all.
His trek takes him to meet with his late father and to learn the powers of a shepherd’s staff amulet that he wields on his quest for revenge against those who caused his son’s death.
Like all good Greek epics, The Shepherd: Apokatastasis is a story of discovery. Each adventure teaches the protagonist, and those who are in his tight circle of associates and family, a new lesson at every turn until they come, collectively, to the final revelation.
That last word is used purposely for, like St. John the Divine, Lawrence has seen things he can never unsee and which have an immediate effect on the real world. Even his fate, as an inter-dimensional prisoner, echoes the fate of St. John.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot here but, suffice it to say, it brings a theologians’ perspective, and the heart of an adventurer, to a story that could have been ponderous. Instead it moves briskly along weaving traditional comic tropes with quotes from Gregory of Nyssa to Virgil’s The Aeneid, with a shout out to Shakespeare in the intro, in a manner that keeps the reader engaged, enlightened, and entertained, without coming across as pretentious. Or requiring the reader to have a masters degree in theology.
The art, by Ryan Showers (pencils/ inks) & Heather Breckel (colorist), is detailed and clean in the scenes where Lawrence is alive and washed and haunting over the rest of the book. Each choice gives the book a more realistic feel than you might expect from a ghost story.
Overall, The Shepherd: Apokatastasis, is an excellent read which, like the time I saw AI and ended up in a movie lobby arguing the nature of a soul with a priest, will have you talking to your friends about something more meaningful than sports.
Yes, there truly are such wonders. And the first step to discovering them may be when you read The Shepherd: Apokatastasis.
CREATIVE TEAM for The Shepherd: Apokatastasis
Andrea Lorenzo Molinari is co-writer and co-creator.
Roberto Xavier Molinari (writer/ creator)
Ryan Showers (pencils/ inks)
Heather Breckel (colorist)
Jacob Bascle (letters and logo design)
NOTE: The COLORS for the COVERS for Issues 4 and 5 were done by Mike Stefan.
Creative direction, and art production services, for The Shepherd: Apokatastasis were provided by Jason Dube and Scattered Comics Studios of Sacramento, CA.
Purchase The Shepherd: Apokatastasis
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