The first issue of NVRLND was a welcome surprise, with the creators transforming the classic tale of the boy that never grew up into a more modern story full of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll- all placed in the underground music scene of Hollywood High.
Issue 2 begins with an unexpected, but surprisingly great, backstory for Tiger Lily. Wendy gets grounded for ditching school with Tiger after their initial fight, and later she sneaks out to meet up with her new friends to see Peter and his band The Lost Boys at his secretive club Neverland.
Of course things go awry at the club as pirate themed tattoo artist and drug dealer James Hook has a terrible plan for Peter and those that frequent his club that he sets into motion. Hook doesn't want to just peddle Pixie Dust, he wants Peter to see what is going on and suffer, and only then does he want him to die.
Hook and his gang start a brawl and take Wendy hostage. During the scuffle there's an unforeseen relationship brought to light between Peter and Hook that drastically changes their dynamic. The conflict heats up, both men act and the issue ends with Peter and Wendy in a riveting cliffhanger, but not before we get to see Peter do some real magic with his shadow. There's no real explanation of how the magic works or where it comes from, but that may come in the next issue. We are left with Hook triumphant.
The writer/creator pairing of Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick have upped the ante quite well- taking the first issue's foundation and adding the magic into the story in a way that feels right as well as getting the characters into action. Although, with that said, I feel the pace is just a little too rapid. The story could use some down time to balance things out. The issue starts off fast, and just puts pedal to the metal all the way to the end, but not everything has to be breakneck sprint to the finish line. The only slow moments are the few with Mr. Darling making headway in the political realm while his chief comes across a clue pointing towards the Pixie Dust related deaths. It's a small portion of the whole, but it could be longer to give readers a pause before taking flight again with the younger characters.
Make no mistake, the story may feel rushed, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's something that does align with the rockstar lifestyle Peter and all these teens strive for. To be fair, they've firmly grasped the clubbing nightlife of raving and partying. This fact is only enhanced by all the wonderful shots by artist Leila Leiz (with colors by Thomas Chu) having captured it with neon perfection. For a four issue series 451 Entertainment has been hitting the right notes and are on track for another great story in NVRLND.
NVRLND issue 2 will be available Sept. 14th.
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*Review copy provided by 451, Thank you!