The Shepherd (Professor Lawrence Miller) and his companions are travelling through the Seam, the forested place between this world and the next. It’s pretty awesome, all supernatural and ever-shifting.

In The Shepherd #1, from Scout Comics’ Black Caravan imprint, the forest setting suddenly shifts to the war theatre, the Middle East in 2004. And that’s where things get mighty confusing for the characters AND the readers.

Writers Andrea L. and Roberto X. Molinari hook us into a powerful story of a man who is pursuing his young son into the Seam. We are taken with the people dynamic, the setting (artist Jess Hara) and the psychedelic surrounds of ‘this iteration’ of the Seam. It’s mesmerizing, and the dialogue and drama are excellent.

But suddenly the story shifts, seemingly arbitrarily, to 2004 in Fallujah. The dialogue is riddled with military slang, there is a lot of marine and manly-man action, and we are lost at sea, deserted by the narrative. Why are we here, and what is the meaning of all this? Even the characters themselves are baffled!! Artist Kyle Huston gets gritty and high contrast with our soldiers, the glaring sun, and the gritty sand in our eyes. We blink and we miss it.

So, it’s a book divided, the Seam being itself a division in the middle of this issue, with two writers and two art teams, the reader floundering, confounded by cliches, feeling lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry. Is there hope for redemption? Will the Cavalry arrive? A full volume of The Shepherd will be released soon. Let’s hang fire, hoo hah.

Scout Comics, The Shepherd #1, $3.99 for 33 pages of content.

By Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!