One of my favorite lyrics of all time is from Minor Threat’s “Minor Threat”: I might be an adult, but I’m a minor at heart. While I have all the qualities of an adult including age and responsibilities, I am truly still a child at heart. My toys may cost a little more and my entertainment has come of age in some ways but in every way possible I am still a child. If you deduce from this that I have a bit of Peter Pan in me then you’d be right. Peter Pan is one of my favorite characters of all time. I have read so many re-imaginings including the children’s series Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. So when I found out that Image had started putting out a re-imagining and that it was Kurtis J. Wiebe I was ecstatic. (You may remember when I discovered Wiebe through Grim Leaper.) With much excitement I picked up all the issues of Peter Panzerfaust that I had missed and before the first issue was done I had already decided that this gem was a permanent addition to my pull list.
First and foremost there is nothing not to like about this series. How can you go wrong with Nazis as the bad guys getting their collective arse handed to them by, for all intents and purposes, Peter-Frickin’-Pan! That said you’ll have to leave your preconceived notions about Peter and the Lost Boys at the door because Wiebe doesn’t constrain himself to convention here, well at least not to Disney’s convention. In Wiebe’s tale Peter is an American do-gooder type who rescues some young French boys during the Nazi sack of Calais. The Great Escape story arc is about said rescue and the subsequent trials and tribulations in Peter and the boys flight across France in an attempt to get to Paris. This is not an innocent telling of Peter Pan and you get to see the consequences of Panzerfaust’s decisions and the effect that that has on his charges. Being a re-imagining there is a background comfort level that could have easily been ripped away by a lesser write but Wiebe manages to pull off keeping the character familiar while completely changing everything about the story. This, in my not so humble opinion, speaks to the strength of the writer.
Now that you know the story is strong I want to sing the praises of Tyler Jenkins, the man who brings this world and these characters to life. I can’t decide whether the art is understated and genius in that or that the sharp contrasts with an almost monochromatic theme makes it jump off the page. I have tried to figure out a way to describe it but all them seem to fall short. First and foremost the art is, frankly, genius regardless of how else it is described. Art can make or break a book and Jenkins’ art absolutely makes this book. This Wiebe and Jenkins combo is a complete winner. Be it an idyllic field or Nazis getting their arses kicked, Jenkins completely takes it to the next level. I could repeat myself over and over with different words but the reality is that you need to pick up this trade, when comes out in early August, or the single issues (#5 comes out this week) and get it in front of your own eyes!
Since the last book in this arc hasn’t actually come out yet I can’t speak to any closure or wrap up in this review but I can tell you that if Wiebe and Jenkins continue down the same path that they have taken so far then this will be an amazing wrap up to one my favorite storylines this year. There are a lot of worse ways to spend your money and as far great stories go, this one is only 4 or 5 issues in, depending on when you read it, and it’s a really good read. Go dig in the couch cushions and get together a couple of bucks and go grab the first issue of the next addition to your pull list!
~ Romeo Sid Vicious ~