Tales From Neverland #1 – Review
This double-sized issue has
two stories with two chances to impress.
The first is a great story that’s enjoyable for surprising reasons and the
second is a story that seems out of place, but is still pretty good. Both have flaws, but a lot of positive
qualities that make up for these flaws… for the most part. The cover story, simply
entitled “Tinkerbelle,” opens with Tinkerbelle running away from a group of
fairies in hot pursuit of her to find out what happened to the Fairy Queen’s
daughter. She is forced to relive a
frightening tale of killer mermaids and is banished from Neverland.
Zenescope is usually noted
for taking fairy tales and turning them into horrifyingly graphic tales with
sexy characters in outfits too skimpy to be considered lingerie. But this story by Joe Brusha takes a
surprisingly different approach. This may be a disappointment for the gore
hounds out there looking for more blood because this issue only has
spurts. There are still some
skimpy outfits thrown into the mix, but very little blood and only one scene
that could be considered somewhat graphic.
Mostly, Brusha takes his time developing an actual story
rather than gore. The story
refrains from becoming too complex and a lot is established by the end of this
issue. Another nice surprise was
that the events flowed smoothly and did not feel rushed at all. The narrative from Tinkerbelle was
slightly boring because of the abundance of it thrown at the reader in the
beginning of the issue, but her narration becomes more tolerable a few pages
in. The feel of the narrative was
odd, though. It felt more directed
towards teenage girls with mentions of peer pressure and catfights. The first quality added to
the story while the second was a necessity that could have been done better,
but the feel in general was more towards a teen audience.
The few characters Brusha
takes time to delve into are not only well developed but fascinating to read
about. They don’t fall into the
usual clichéd categories.
Tinkerbelle is a much deeper character in this issue than the many other
interpretations of her in the numerous other forms of media she has been
in. Her character has several flaws
but an overall good conscience that really makes you empathize with her by the
end of the issue. Her sister also
makes up a big part of her character and has a pivotal role in the comic. Tinkerbelle’s love for her sister is
amiable and makes her into an even more fleshed out character with
motivation. Despite the sister
only being mentioned occasionally in the dialogue and never being seen, Brusha
managed to make her character have a huge impact on the reader right to the
ending, which led to a great twist that while a bit cliché, was very
satisfying. Tinkerbelle is well
developed enough to hold the reader’s interest despite there not being many
other characters even given names let alone any character development.
The art was the combined
works of Judit Tondora and Antonio Bifulco. This was the most disappointing part of the issue. The issue opened with some great
artwork: it was well put together with a nice touch of colors from Roland Pilcz
and Miguel Garrido that gave the imagery a nice abstract look. For some reason, after these beautiful
images, the art seemed to begin going into a downward spiral until half of the
panels looked badly neglected with barely any detail given to either the
characters or the background. The
one slightly graphic scene I mentioned before was so cluttered it took me a few
moments to even figure out what it was.
When I did, the scene was satisfying but also annoying because the
artwork almost hid a pivotal part of the plot from me. As previously mentioned, for those
looking for pictures of fairies that look like they belong in Playboy, you
won’t find them here. The outfits
may be short but most of the physical structures of the fairies are barely
developed at all. The little that
is comes off rather poorly.
“Tinkerbelle” is a far
better story than the next one in the issue entitled “Family History.” The title’s lack of originality is not promising
but the story did have some good surprises in store for the reader. It opens with a wife, narrating about a
terrible nightmare she has when she wakes up and hears actual screaming. When investigating she discovers how
evil her husband truly is when she walks in on him sacrificing a newborn. She tries to run away with her
son. The only problem is their
means of escape: the Titanic.
While this seems more
complex than “Tinkerbelle,” it felt like it had much less content. The “Tinkerbelle” story felt deeper,
creating a good storyline as well as creating surprisingly realistic and
interesting characters. “Family
History” struggles a bit with both these things. It is again written by Joe Brusha and he fails to develop
the characters as much, although it does not make them unlikable. He just doesn’t make them stand out
from the crowd as much as they should.
The story has a lot of promise and makes me even more curious to see
what will happen next. The mention
of the Titanic towards the end of the story seems unimportant but is an oddly
unique and wonderful way to show not only the time but also the setting.
The art is also another
let-down. The style from Jean Paul
DeShong is mediocre and not very memorable. The backgrounds are never too detailed and when they are,
they fail to be important. The few
times when DeShong shows the characters’ eyes, a subtle importance in art, the
eyes were not memorable. Most of
the time, the characters’ eyes were closed, which made the scenes seem very
Even with the sometimes
awkward art in both stories, “Tinkerbelle” had a basic story that managed to
take many twists and turns and by the end, blossom into a great and unique
tale. “Family History” showed some
promise but needs another issue to entice me. Until then, I’ll just enjoy Neverland.
Overall Score – 7.9/10
*Good - A solid book overall,
might not be for everyone but does have a fan base and they will definitely
For a preview of Tales from Neverland #1 click here. Also be sure to check out our interview with the colorist to the cover Jeff Balke.