Heavy Metal Comics/Virus 2021
Written by Mark McCann
Illustrated by Phil Buckenham
Coloured by Agnese Pozza
Lettered by DAvid Withers
Winter is seduced by the boy-sprite, Petros - off to the Never, Never. A place where children never grow up and adults are the enemy. What would such a place look like? Where resources are scarce. Time passes, but age is obsolete. War with adults, starved and insane from constant battle, is the norm. What would age-less boys free of civility and role-models be willing to do to survive. To live forever. A young girl will face her greatest test; an island full of immortal cannibals with a dark secret that sustains its existence, in the most unnatural and awful of ways.
I am so enamoured with this book. The idea that Petros is a psychotic, sadistic and totally unbalanced individual which makes this a much more interesting and fascinating read. With the dark and dangerous feel that this book gives off and that the secrets we have learned seem to do a number of things to those living on the Island. We know they cannot be killed or at least not easily and to be so long lived that they all seem to suffer from a myriad of mental issues thanks to this longevity. The story really does engage the mind and makes you think beyond what is on the page and I love that.
I love the way that this is being told. The story and plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see from the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter and what this does is bring their personalities to the forefront extremely well. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story the more we are pulled in these events.
How we see this being structured and how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. These layers open up some great avenues to explore and while some will be and others won’t be and pre established avenues are there as well add this great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is extremely well achieved.
The interiors here are getting better and better with each issue, this is what I love to see a natural progression from constantly working. The linework is nice and solid and with the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail in the work is really great to see. I do wish we’d see more backgrounds being utilised. However, the composition within the panels brings out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story extremely well. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show an extremely talented eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a great eye for how colour works.
This is a dark, twisted and demented take on the Peter Pan story and it really kind of says to kids that watch whom you befriend and don’t talk to strangers and definitely don’t go running off with someone you barely know or you’ll end up dead. Great lesson to learn lol but seriously it really does feel like a throwback, early 1800’s-yes I know he first appeared in 1904 but Grimm Fairy Tales were earlier, modern take and it really fits in with the both times or eras. With some exceptional writing and incredibly diverse characterisation plus these very descriptive interiors create a much different and far more interesting take on the boy who wouldn’t grow up.