PANNED! Issues #1 – #3
Writer: James Maddox
Artist: Antonio Dahora
Cover Colors: Kyle Crabtree
Publisher: Broken Icon
It’s an interesting take on the Peter Pan mythos to be sure. But is it a good one? Well, the answer to that question is more complicated than one might think, and it gets more complicated with each issue of the series. In this series of events, Pan is a malevolent creature created out of his constantly fading memory and his overwhelming need for adventure, rivalry, duels, and excitement. In this continuation/alteration of the original story created by J.M. Barrie, it is the modern era, and every time Pan defeats and kills Captain Hook, he and The Lost Boys travel to our world, “adultnap” someone who fits the bill, give him to the pirates of Neverland, have his hand cut off and replaced with a hook, and start all over again. It’s a creepy, atmospheric, and entertaining combination of Peter Pan and the 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game” (which the comic makes a rather humorous tongue-in-cheek reference to in issue #1).
The story is rather intriguing, and the dark mysterious nature of the new chain of events occurring amongst old familiar characters is the definite draw of this comic. It’s all handled in a very mature fashion, with none of the dialog or exposition being unimportant. It’s all important character development with no throwaway lines.
Now, while the story is quite interesting, that’s only half the experience. As it is a comic, there is of course the visual aspect to consider. The design of the comic is quite nice, with narrative boxes/bubbles presented as tattered bits of parchment like old maps with the appropriate faux pirate fantasy font. The edges of the panels look like maps as well, with drawings of islands and locales as well as compasses off to the side, and so on and so forth. The switches to the real/modern world are accompanied by traditional modern black and white panel edges, yellow narration boxes, and typical comic book font. It’s all a very nice bit of detailing to be sure.
The only place where the comic falls short, I regret to say, is the actual artwork. The character designs are nice and the sketches at the end of the comic show what could have been a very well drawn comic, but it looks like the entire comic was drawn in Microsoft Paint or something equally inadequate. The artist is talented to be sure, and the talent really shines through in a few key panels, but whatever technology was used to render the images does nothing but muddle them and at times even makes the flow of events hard to follow. Overall it comes across as something from a low-grade web comic and not a comic book that I would see on a shelf.
Don’t let that deter you too much, however. I’d like to point out that the designs are quite enjoyable, and the story is quite nice. It’s just the way the designs are presented that detract from the overall experience.
But with issues 1-3 exploring the atmospheric world, and the fresh and creepy new take on the Peter Pan mythology, I honestly can’t wait to present you with my thoughts on issues 4-6.