In the first issue they gave us the foundations of the classic story of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up, in a modern era completely saturated in the underground music scene of Hollywood High. It's loaded with sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll- everything a truly good club nightlife story needs to fuel the raver club aesthetic.
Then in the second issue they cranked up the danger and intrigue by adding some magical elements to the story. Hook kidnapped Wendy, waged a war on The Lost Boys in their sanctuary at club NVRLND, and he even managed to steal Peter's shadow.
The writer/creator duo of Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick have ramped up NVRLND's 3rd issue to even greater heights. Hook is gaining power through Peter's shadow and some black magic. He's becoming overconfident and giving free reign to his dark appetites. Peter is suffering greatly at the cost of losing his shadow. Wendy is lost in her own world and looking for a real connection, while her father, L.A.'s District Attorney, is making progress into finding the source of all the mysterious teen deaths going on around the city as his own daughter is put into the spotlight.
Secondary characters finally begin to make some headway in this issue as well. Chief Lily's previous questionable actions become explained, Smee has a wonderfully hilarious moment dressed as a unicorn, and the mute Tinkerbell shows her absolute devotion to Peter despite all odds. The characters are all becoming more fleshed out, adding a nice depth to the world.
What makes NVRLND special is the fact that 451 Entertainment's newest series doesn't only focus on the glamour or the fantastical parts of the lavish nightclubbing lifestyle. It delves equally into the grit and dark side of it as well. The flashing lights and music of the club are offset by the grim and shady workings of corruption among the city. They display the aftermath of drugs on peoples lives, the selfish nature of people, which is balanced by some of the small everyday magic in life that many don't notice. Artist Leila Leiz (and colorist Thomas Chu) capture all these moments wonderfully- from the bright colors of NVRLND to the grimy auto-body shop of a former gang leader.
This re-imagining of the love story between Peter and Wendy is becoming far better than I had first anticipated, and Hook's taking center stage is handled ingeniously. He's become even cockier than Peter was, a sure sign of pride before the fall to come. There's a lot of answers we still need to see, such as where is all the magic coming from and what are the consequences of using it? Will D.A. Darling solve the homicides case? Will Peter explain to Wendy what the hell is going on? And I eagerly look forward to finding out what spawned Hook's vendetta for Peter. NVRLND's finale can't come soon enough.
NVRLND 3 is available now.
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*Review copy provided by 451, Thank you!