Rating: 4.5/5 – Peter and His Lost Boys Continue to Fight “On Till Morning”
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Amy Okamoto
Peter Panzerfaust is a re-imagining of the Peter Pan mythos taking place in war torn France during WWII with Peter as a young American rebelling against German occupation. Aiding him are his “lost boys” – a group of young men who were living in an orphanage in Calais, France when the invasion began and were saved from the destruction by Peter. Other allies along for the ride are Lily and the stranded orphan American Wendy Darling and her brothers. No Peter Pan story would be complete without Hook and his men. In this incarnation, Hook is Haken, a brutal German officer who is a legend in his own right.
Issue #23 picks up part three of the “On Till Morning” arc. This story continues Maurice’s remembrances and impressions. Peter is back in Paris and discovers that the group is fracturing after having endured many losses and challenges. Despite misgivings, the group plans one more assault to help free France. The odds are heavily against them, and Peter has more to worry about with pending fatherhood. But the war has followed Peter to Paris. After a rare night of joy and good company, they are immediately brought crashing back to earth when they discover a note from Hook, stating “It’s Time.” Time for their final battle. My only quibble with the book was that it has been over a month since the previous issue, and some meaning was lost without doing a reread of that book.
Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe has created an appealing Peter. Young, brash and bold, Peter has a charisma that leaps off of the page. The WWII setting turns this into a somber adventure story rather than a flight of fancy. Wiebe is a solid writer, giving the characters an emotional depth and bringing realism to their struggles and that of France. There are plenty of action scenes, but he does not shy away from the range of emotions that ensue during battle: fear, anxiety, and anger. The comradery between the friends serves to balance those negative feelings. Tyler Jenkins has been the artist since issue #1 and the consistency of his art is one of the pluses of this book. Jenkins has a unique style that is easily recognizable. While not overly detailed, he still beautifully portrays character emotions. I find that his characters’ gestures and facial expressions add to the narrative. His vision of Peter fits the style of the era and captures his charm. I couldn’t imagine these characters being depicted any differently.
The Peter Pan mythos has been reinvented before, but Wiebe and Jenkins’ WWII take on the story is one of my favorite versions of it. Wiebe interweaves the brashness and joy of youth with the hardships and horrors of war, turning this into a somber yet heartening coming-of-age story. This particular issue is not a good jumping on point for new readers, but those who have been following the story, even loosely, should be able to pick it back up as we experience the joys of the characters’ Parisian reunion and the stress of living under constant threat. Another dynamic Peter/Hook confrontation is looming, and I can’t wait to see what both of them have up their sleeves.
Reviewed by: Amy Okamoto
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