Review - Neverboy #1

"I feel like life is meaningless."

Today's world is one filled with armchair psychiatrists, perusers of WebMD who think they're doctors and an over-prescription of drugs as a means of dealing with issues. Much of those drugs are aimed at reducing pain in some shape or form, but there's really none available to keep one grounded in the imagination. That is, none until Neverboy #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Shaun Simon, illustrated by Tyler Jenkins, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot.

Most people take drugs to escape reality. Neverboy, a former imaginary friend, does the opposite. He’s found a loophole that allows him to stay in the real world. As long as he stays medicated, everything’s perfect. But when the drugs wear off and reality fades, the forces that guard the borders between the real and the imaginary will be ready to drag him back to where he belongs.

The first word that comes to mind after reading Neverboy #1 is psychedelic and it definitely lives up to the billing of that word. Simon's story requires the reader jump right in, giving them very little context until the issue is about 3/4ths of the way complete. The book slowly works towards the reveal at the end, but along the way there's not really a lot to go on other then a few subtle hints here and there. Simon's ambition is clearly there and the story feels grander than it actually ends up being. A lot of this is because there's not really much in the way of emotion attached to Neverboy's plight presented by Simon. Instead, Neverboy #1 is a lot of peeling back layers of expository until you get to the meat of the premise.

Grounding the reader in two realities is Jenkins' art. His loose-flowing illustrations are accentuated by a filter of grit which succeeds in grounding the book in neither reality nor imagination. Neverboy and his family look convincing enough and the art aids the reader in keeping up with what world they're currently in. Fitzpatrick's colors are vivid and bold when necessary; otherwise, they're mostly muted greens, blues and browns. As the plot crescendos to its reveal, the characters are awash in a rainbow of colors that Fitzpatrick uses to extraordinary effect as an emphasis on the worlds melting away.

Neverboy #1 attempts to shatter the barriers between reality and imagination. Neverboy is the catalyst for the transition, used as a facilitator of reconciliation for both who's being hunted for being out of place. Simon's got a lot of ideas floating around in the book; hopefully he's able to see them through to completion as the series plays out. Fitzpatrick's illustrations are somewhat ethereal and detached, fitting within the context of the tale being spun by Simon. Neverboy #1 is an interesting premise that shows promise, even if the first issue feels a little scattered in terms of its approach.

Neverboy #1 is in stores March 4 with interiors below.