NVRLND: Issue 4 Review (451 Entertainment)


     Writer/creator duo Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick have taken their 451 Entertainment comic series NVRLND and made it something extraordinary.  It's the timeless classic of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, but it's been completely re-imagined and steeped in the underground music scene of the modern era.  There's the typical sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, and then there's a considerable amount of murder, magic, and mystery to fill it out- what more could we want?


     After the events of last issue, Peter and Hook have effectively switched places, they've swapped ages and power.  The once carefree, teen-aged rockstar Peter has become a weak and helpless shell of a person, while Hook has cranked up the confidence, taken action with newfound vigor, and cemented himself as a truly great villain.  Wendy, Peter, Tink, and all the rest have taken a back seat to Hook standing triumphant above everyone.  He has, without a doubt, become the shining star of the series.  Making this even better is the revelation about Peter and Hook's true relationship.  It was previously hinted at in issue 3, and it brings a dramatic change in the dynamic between the two, which will presumably be used in a future story.


    Hook's plan is still as ambiguous as ever, we have no real clue what he's after, or why.  He doesn't want to kill Peter, he wants him to see it all, and suffer the whole time.  We only know he's been peddling some black magic drugs, ruined club NVRLND, reclaimed the power of youth by stealing Peter's shadow, and has a some monumental plan to accomplish that involves crashing Tiger Lily's quinceanera.
     In addition, there was a brilliant misdirection during the battle between the gangs- The Lost Boys, the Pirates, and the Savages- revealing Hook's real target, and it was extremely well handled directly involving the crooked cop, and D.A. Darling's number one, Chief Lily.


     I really think the writing and story took a great turn, giving us some great action and interesting plot twists, but Leila Leiz's art feels a bit lacking from the last few issues.  Things aren't as neatly drawn, and Thomas Chu's color work is just a bit flatter than the previous issues.  Maybe there was a last minute rush to meet deadlines or something, I don't know.  It's not to say they are bad by any means, just that they were slightly off from the previous few issues.

     The NVRLND finale on the whole leaves us with a very abrupt cliffhanger, which is usually something that truly irritates me.  But here, it feels exactly like the end of a television season.  All the plot lines converge at Tiger Lily's coming of age party, and it gives us a proper turning point, as well as opening up vast potential for the future.
     As I've said before, NVRLND is a truly unique dark re-imagining that does something different and special with the idea of staying forever young.  It gives us the gritty reality behind the facade of the glamorous clubbing nightlife.  It shows us that if we look beyond the flashing neon lights and thumping music, things like magic aren't only found in that strangely enchanting place residing between waking and dream- and sometimes, that magic is black.

     NVRLND issue 4 hits stands tomorrow, Wed. Nov. 23, 2016.

     Reviews of NVRLND issues [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]

     Other [ 451 Reviews ]

     Link to 451 Entertainment's [ Comixology ]

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*Review copy provided, Thank you!

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