Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Neverland: Age of Darkness #1 (Comics Review)

Having recently read Zenescope’s Helsing #1 and Grimm Fairy Tales #0 FCBD 2014, I’ve gotten really interested in the publisher’s Age of Darkness crossover went. Looking at the event’s release schedule, the list of titles and issues is quite large, so I can’t feasibly cover everything, but that’s part of the fun of this event. Looking for a good place to start, I decided to get back to the publisher’s Neverland series since when I first read the series’ first volume, I was fairly impressed with it. A lot has happened in the Neverland realm since I was last there, but that too is part of the fun, since the changes are always intriguing.

Neverland: Age of Darkness #1 features some characters I don’t recognise, especially Nathan Cross who is the protagonist of the series it seems, but then, that didn’t bother me over much. All I wanted to do after reading this issue was t read some of the backissues of the series so that I could be caught up to this point. Tall order I know, but doable eventually, I think. It also helps that Joe Brusha and Dan Wickline’s writing is fairly top-notch here and that the artwork by Luca Claretti and Co. is almost on the same level as well.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents - Neverland Age Of Darkness 01

As with most other Zenescope titles, Joe Brusha is the story consultant here, since I believe his is the larger vision for this event. Dan Wickline is the scripter for this issue and I like what he does with these characters. Together, these two give us just enough information on what has come before while moving ahead full speed with the current story. And I loved that. A bare minimum of introduction plus a focused story. That’s what I wanted to see from this issue and that’s what I got out of it.

What I liked best about this issue was that this was very much a ground zero story that seemingly starts off at the start of the event and then pulls in the hero Nathan Cross, who looks pretty damn badass in almost every scene that he is in. And Nathan is a pretty likable character too. I mean, sure, he has some cliches as part of his character, and Dan doesn’t shy away from that really, not even in the character’s shirtless moments, but damn, it is fun and refreshing to read about a character like this. Plus, Dan gives the reader some good narrative hooks to get stuck in and follow along.

The issue is a pretty straightforward story which sees the US government send in a team of agents to close down a portal from Neverland and stop the army of the Dark Queen from getting another foothold in the country. But the team fails and so the government agency that Nathan Cross works for calls in him, its big guns, and pairs him up with another one of its top (normal) agents, so that they can have a better chance at doing what needs to be done than the previous team. And all the fun goes on from there as the action really kicks up a notch from that point on.

More than seeing Nathan as a Realm Knight, we also get to see some of his personal life with his girlfriend Wendy, and that made this really interesting, since his personal life clashes often with his professional life, and his girlfriend certainly does not approve that he spends so much time away from her. If that is something that is played up more in the future issues, considering how this issue ends and what Nathan’s mission, then I foresee some good times ahead.

Luca Claretti does the pencils for this issue, while Renato Guerra does the colours and Jim Campbell does the letters. The artwork for the first half of this issue is pretty decent while Wickline sets up Nathan’s entry, but after that it goes downhill a bit because Claretti goes for the overdramatic with his pencils and several characters just have these weird exaggerated expressions at times. But, on the whole, I liked what he did, and he set everything up really nicely.  And the colours are always fantastic, though they appear to be a bit dull too at times, and that wasn’t fun.

Overall a good start I think, and I’m definitely on board.

Rating: 8/10

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Posted on May 13, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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