Writer: Shaun Simon
Art: Tyler Jenkins
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Neverboy #5. This is a tough hop-on if you have not been reading this book for the first four issues, and I haven’t. Gaining some enjoyment out of this book really relies on you already having been invested in this specific mythology. It is tough for me to think of a single line in the book that did not reference something that had occurred in the past but simply was not to be discussed now. This is always a problem when you come to a book for the first time. If you are planning on staying on it for a bit, you decide to weather the storm and hope that you’ll eventually “get it” at some point.
This is one of the most difficult story-telling aspects that a writer has to deal with. How do I continue my arc without aggravating my current reader-base by constantly re-hashing stuff we already covered but also engender the interest of potentially new readers? Neverboy #5 does not do this particularly well, and I cannot entirely blame the creative team. They have to decide how they want to tell their story and decide if this factor is one that is going to drive how the book is structured. This team took the approach of not really building any on-ramps for readers, and that’s a thing. You don’t have to build on-ramps if you are doing a Batman or a Spiderman book. Smaller titles do, or else they have to have a good synopsis up front; something else this book does not do. One or two paragraphs on the inside cover or a credits page would have made all of the difference.
Art in this issue is serviceable. It definitely has its own style. It feels a little pulp. The panel work in the opening page is creative and outside the normal stuff we would see/say for an issue like this. Unfortunately, it is only put on display in this opening page. While I am not a fan of the overall style that Jenkins uses in his approach, individual scenes are a nice bit of story-telling. The panels where NeverBoy loses members of his “family” are particularly nice work.
I like how this issue is scripted for the most part. Simon strings together some nice set-pieces across the span of a singular issue. The issue sees its best writing in the latter half of the book. There is an I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Agents feel to this, and that is a dual-edged sword. I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Agents had a great premise and set-up, but withered on the vine as the story progressed. I get the feeling that NeverBoy runs the risk of being the same. Like I said, the middle of the book builds up to a major shift in the story’s backdrop, and from there out it takes a more serious and direct approach; the pace is more sharp and distinct.
Neverboy #5 shows a bit of the series’ promise, whether it is an ongoing or a limited series. It is a book tackling a tough premise. Time-travel, interdimensional travel, or parallel universes, it is always something you can trip yourself up on and lose time and reader engagement. The creative team does a decent job constructing a story. But I do not think this was a great issue overall. The score assigned reflects that.
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