Project Nevermor Reviews: Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland

**Not long ago, I started getting the urge to read more, and that urge grew into a desire to explore other works based on Peter Pan (which I said I wouldn’t do until I was done with my own trilogy.) However! since I pretty much know where that’s going, I decided to give in to my desire to read other variations of Peter Pan or anything with a connection, such as what my own series is. So I finally broke down and ordered several different Peter Pan-related books that I’m going to read and give my impressions of on the blog.  I’m limiting my reading to only published works, books and graphic novels (indie works, yes – stories on Wattpad and such, no). My reviews probably will contain *some* spoilers, but I tried to limit that as I could. So, this sort of post might show up periodically, because I have quite a few volumes waiting in line.**

Okay, let’s get started!

In choosing which Peter Pan-related work I would read and review first, I chose a very simple method. I decided to start with the first one that arrived at my door: the graphic novel, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Neverland.

Relationship to the Peter Pan story:

This seems to be more of a retelling, as if the Peter and Wendy never happened. The story is set in modern times and does link back to the original Peter Pan story, but is told as if it is happening for the first time, with characters of different circumstances.

First Impression:

I knew this volume existed before I even considered reading it. I know that Zenescope releases a lot of these, and I had seen some of the artwork, as many of you may have as well – which mostly consists of a lot of overly sexy ladies in very little clothing. Be that as it may, I can handle a certain amount of that sort of thing, so I decided, despite the possible racy or erotic nature of this volume, I couldn’t exclude it from my list. Okay so I had prepared myself to see, every few pages, an image of some exaggerated female with her ass in my face. *ahem* I figured I’d snicker and move on, and then I’d review based on how laughable it was.

Guess what… Despite the images that are used in conjunction to advertise this comic series and serve as cover art…there was no nudity and no sex involved in the story at all! There are a few cover images from the comic shown in the book, and those have the half-naked women on them, but as far as this only being a T&A fest, it’s just not so.

Story:

This story sort of teeters between the modern day real world and Neverland – sort of in the vein of Fables and Once Upon A Time. The main characters are Nathan Cross (also called Hook) and Wendy. Nathan is a down-on-his-luck man with a prosthetic hand, who suffers from psychological issues and regularly sees a therapist. Wendy is a grown woman with two nephews living with her, named John and Michael. Circumstances lead them to cross paths, and their adventures in a nightmarish Neverland ensue.

Peter Pan is a grown man (once a boy, who found Neverland and decided to stay). He took control of it, and Neverland has gradually become his world of nightmares. *ahem* He maintains his immortality by feeding on the souls of children that he snatches from the real world, but he doesn’t do it in order to stay youthful, only to stay alive (and for meanness).

Cross has a recurring dream where he’s on an island running for his life, a monstrous reptile chasing him. He can’t seem to shake it throughout his adult life. Turns out Nathan was the only one to survive Neverland – ever – but not without losing his hand to the crocodile beast that was chasing him. And that isn’t all he lost. His brother, Timmy, was not so lucky, and those things haunt him. Wendy, on the other hand, is only there by circumstance when her nephews are abducted by Pan, and he afterward fixates on her (for some reason) and decides he wants to seize her later and make her his queen (lame).

So, the basis of the plot has Cross facing his past as he helps Wendy try to rescue her nephews.
Other characters are featured, such as Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily, but honestly, they don’t do a lot. The crocodile also serves as a horrific foe. There are natives, mermaids, and some zombie-type Lost Boys. There are some guys on a ship…not sure if they were supposed to be pirates…

Art:

Since this is a graphic novel, I’m also going to give my impression of the artwork, which is equally important to me. The artwork was alright, full color and certainly nice as far as that goes. I’m kinda picky and pretty much expect everything to be amazing… which is certainly not always the case in graphic novels, but if the art is prettier, I can accept a weaker storyline. This one didn’t quite do it for me. It’s not something I want to open up and look at, even without reading, just to see how pretty it is.

Verdict:

Three stars… maybe.

The story was actually pretty poor, I felt. I was interested in the concept, but it let me down. The motives of some of the characters were often absent or fell flat, and it simply could have been more exciting. The plot was extremely simple (though I think there is another spin-off or continuation of this series, which I will probably not delve into because this one didn’t impress me enough.) It didn’t blow my mind, but it was certainly along horror lines, and I appreciated the effort.

Bonus review: Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost

Not Peter Pan related, but I’d been ogling this volume for a while, and finally decided to go for it. This is a graphic novel, dark fantasy retelling of Aladdin with a hint of Sinbad, influenced by 1001 Nights.

First Impression:

I can’t quite remember how I first came across this, but I’m sure it was based on something else I had looked at on Amazon and then came up as a recommendation. Once I saw the cover, I was drawn to it immediately, even though I know that sometimes the cover art for graphic novels is so much better than what is actually inside. But anyway, I started looking at it. It was sort of furtive in the beginning. I’d look at it in passing and think, ehhh maybe next time. I started looking into it a little deeper, reading reviews and seeing praise for it, so finally I decided to go for it. Basically, if you tell me it’s dark, you’re going to get my attention, so that’s what happened here. Also it’s fairytale related, so yay.

I’d never really considered doing a retelling of Aladdin myself, but just seeing this got my brain working and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. In the end, I couldn’t say no, and I’m glad that I didn’t.

Story

Like you might expect, Aladdin is a young thief who attracts the interest of a man needing to get his hands on a lamp. Qassim’s interest in Aladdin does not stop there, however. There is something else about the youth that is important. His blood, to be more specific, but the story is told in a way that the secrets unfold slowly, leaving you to wonder exactly what is in store around the corner. Anyway, of course Aladdin fetches the lamp and manages to avoid death while keeping the lamp to himself, accidentally rubs it, summons a djinn and uses wishes to make himself a prince. He uses his power to do what he wants, also caters to the poor, and later attempts to impress the princess.

Okay so here’s where things take a turn, an almost Prince of Persia turn, or perhaps that all came from the Aladdin story to begin with… Aladdin is exposed by Qassim, who the youth didn’t know was associated with the sultan (isn’t that how it always goes). He is said to be a thief, and after a flurry of events, finds himself on the run after the king winds up dead.

Aladdin then meets up with Sinbad, who had previously been observing him, and they set off together to save the world and whatnot. Or at least rescue the princess. The story becomes somewhat of it’s own after that (or perhaps not, since I don’t exactly know the story of Sinbad), but I also couldn’t help thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean. There is a Krakken-type monster and also the idea of jilted lovers with great powers. Instead of one Djinn, there are 2, and they are married, but circumstances find them opposed.  But things are woven well and there are many forces at work, making for a richer storyline than what Neverland offered me, which was pretty straightforward.

 Art:

The art is absolutely gorgeous!! Full color and really beautiful. The coloring job is excellent, each image looking like a painting all to itself. The pictures are worth looking at, even without following the storyline. The artists did get a bit lazy at times, and that’s always disappointing, but for the most part, very well done and consistent throughout.

Verdict:

Gorgeous to look at, this story is a bit dark, bloody and excellent. There is originality here, though not all the ideas are entirely fresh, the story wove through nicely, the dialogue was mostly good, and once again the art was freaking awesome. I was very impressed.

There were a few things that didn’t quite impress me though, one of which was the pacing. But I know that it’s different with graphic novels. Also since the beginning was basically as you’d expect Aladdin to be, it wasn’t all that exciting, because of course events are going to lead us to the lamp and while there seemed to be a lot of effort to get there, I mean, we knew it would happen. There wasn’t much originality added to that part.

The attempt at a love connection also annoyed me.There was no reason at all for Aladdin to pursue the princess other than the fact that she was the princess and very beautiful, which is fine and makes sense in a way. Why do men go after women anyway? But there was never much growing of that, other than the fact that she’s the best girl around. On the other side of things, it makes more sense to me to see the princess’s return interest in him. She had merit as a character, but their connection seemed weak.

Anyway, I recommend this one! It was a gem.

As for a Nevermor update, I’ve had a lot more creative energy lately and am slowly cutting my way through Book 3 with around, oh, 70k by now. And steadily growing! I had to start working on the chapters individually and later I’ll go back and make sure they fit together like I want. First drafts, you know – equivalent to rough sketches. Needs a lot more work, but just getting the framework down is a big step.

The Forsaken Dreamscape: Deluxe Peter Pan Edition is pretty much ready to go when the time comes, and is up for preorder on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and the iTunes store.

Oddly, I just checked, and the Deluxe Edition is actually up for preorder on KOBO, even though the other version of Forsaken Dreamscape was never posted there.. Hm. Perhaps it is time I contacted them about it. Anywho, Kobo users, rejoice! It’s finally your turn!

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/forsaken-dreamscape-deluxe-peter-pan-edition

For now, I think that’s all. Hope you enjoyed the reviews! I’ll be working on more.

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