Monday, October 23, 2017

Review - Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot (@zenescope)


"We have so many plans in store for you."

Neverland has typically been pitched as a great place to go as a youth. A lot has changed in the exotic locale in Zenescope's version, what with Peter Pan being a vampire and all that. Still, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot seeks to revisit one of the darker corners of the land. The issue is written by Dave Franchini, illustrated by Jason Muhr, colored by Bobby Bevard and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Neverland was once a beautiful realm of imagination and adventure, before the tyrant, a vampire-like being, named Pan, who fed on the life force of children, had filled it with fear and servitude. Pan was defeated by Nathan Cross, a former victim of Pan's evil. And with that defeat, Neverland returned to its former glory. Now a new evil is rising, and Cross is being pulled back into the realm that once haunted his very existence.

In Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot, Franchini looks to transition Neverland from one state to the next. Nathan's return to Neverland isn't entirely planned and Franchini uses that as a means of relating the shock of the protagonist to the reader. Franchini's dialogue throughout the issue feels a little cliche at times and somewhat undercuts the implied emotions of the characters. And because the issue is a one-shot, the pacing is very erratic. Nathan goes from his home to Neverland back home again all within the span of the one-shot, but because Franchini has to juggle other elements of the plot the trip sort of gives the reader whiplash.

Muhr's art style very much fits within the Zenescope look of things. Characters are actually pretty expressive in many panels as Murh affords them facial expressions that are very appropriate for the situation. Wendy in particular is illustrated by Murh in a way that really underscores to the reader the unpredictable world those characters inhabit on a daily basis. Panel layout plays it safe for the most part by sticking to a grid, but Murh does mix in a few overlays here and there. Bevard's colors are bright and do well in emphasizing the vileness of the antagonist's lair.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot doesn't exactly tread new ground, but it does establish a new direction for its characters. Nathan and Wendy are pressganged back into Neverland before escaping and a new villain is arising. Franchini's script is pretty straightforward and effective despite some pacing issues. Muhr's illustrations are simple yet effective in rendering the intensity of Neverland. Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot is a pretty quick read that explores one of the lesser traveled realms in the Grimm Fairy Tales universe.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland Return of Hook One-Shot is available November 1.

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