REVIEW: The Shepherd–Apokatastasis

I am no Theologian; I am a fan of great comics and this is definitely a great one!

The word apokatastasis is now usually used to refer to a specifically Origenistic doctrine of universal salvation.  In Christian theology,  universal salvation, is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of God’s divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God.   The doctrine has generally been rejected by Christian religion, which holds to the doctrine of special salvation, that only some members of humanity will eventually enter heaven, but it has received support from many prestigious Christian thinkers as well as many groups of Christians. The Bible itself has a variety of verses that, on the surface, seem to support a plurality of views.  My simplistic explanation of this integral piece of Christian theology is, by my account, a weak and watered down version.  Andrea Molinari gives a much more complete explanation concluding his and his son’s collective work.

The story starts out with the theologian, Professor Lawrence’s oldest son, Val, dying from a drug overdose. Professor Lawrence anguished in his grief and becomes convinced that his son never crossed over, and he must help him. In order to help Val, he must take his own life and search the “seam” for his son.  Lawrence is determined to punish those that took Val away from him. He wanders the “seam”, the area between heaven and hell, with the staff of truth and an unlikely sidekick, Legio–the wolf.

Reading the opening of this graphic novel and realizing the birth of the story elevates the entire work.  The script takes little time in the world of the living and moves quickly to the “seam”, which makes perfect sense to me as the reader.  I found Professor Lawrence’s character to be extremely relatable.  This is not to say the character will be for everyone, in fact Lawrence seems down-right deplorable as a Christian theologian who chooses death over finding comfort in God’s grace.  Perhaps this is what made the character so relatable to me.  My most fulfilling and driving purpose in life is being a father.  I am certain many parents could quickly relate to the burning feelings of vengeance they would feel in Lawrence’s position.  The overwhelming urge to protect your family at ANY COST is translated from the author to page and it definitely hooked my paternal side.  The Professor’s character evolves with each chapter and the twist and reveal as this arc concludes are outstanding!

The art is also given a thorough explanation at the story’s conclusion, which in effect, mirrors the story.  I was pleased to see the original artists work and appreciated the “what might have been” and respect given by the creators to the artists.  Ryan “Score” Showers’ work paired well with the script and set the reader squarely in the “seam”.  The work was consistent throughout and coupled with the great color of Heather Breckel, created an ethereal feel for the work.

screenshot_209 screenshot_210

I am a single issue collector, but I have found a few trades in my time which I must have, and this has become one of them.  I look forward to future arcs following The Shepherd and The Wolf!

Writers: Andrea Lorenzo Molinari and Roberto Xavier Molinari
Pencils/Inks: Ryan “Score” Showers
Colors: Heather Breckel

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