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PopCultHQ Comic Book Review: “NVRLND” #1 from 451 Media (Out 8/10/16)

PopCultHQ received a preview copy of NVRLND’ #1 from 451 Media Group. In stores on August 10th, the creative team for this new series features writing from Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick and illustrations by artist Leila Leiz.

Here is PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of NVRLND #1


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PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review: NVRLND #1

Ah, the tale of Peter Pan. A story which will likely span generations. Recently, we’ve seen it return to life as a film (“Pan“)  and the boy who never grows up has played a role on TV’s Once Upon A Time. But honestly, are these versions truly bringing the story into the 21st century and the “real world” of today? Many think so, but I would hand them a copy of NVRLND‘ #1 from 451 Media Group.

n3NVRLND takes all the characters we know and love and put them into real-life situations. That’s right Peter Pan, now the touring lead singer of a rock band named The Lost Boys, Tink (the unspoken follower of Peter), the Darling family (Wendy, John and Michael), the commanding presence in the tattooist James Hook, and beautiful Tiger Lily takes on a whole new look.

And when I say, “real-life situations,” I mean not like Snow White taking a selfie, but more of the harsh realities faced by younger generations today. Drugs, peer pressure, cliques, sex, the need to fit in. When it comes to incorporating the darker side of life of today’s urban youth with the classic fairy tale of Peter Pan, NVRLND keeps it real and delivers what many parents don’t want to believe happens with their children. And while there are scenes that have that ‘young adult’-style feel to them as in the films, it has moments of being provocative and risqué enough to show you that this Pan fable is all grown up! Running congruently with the underground scene and our well-known cast is a pair of homicide detectives looking into the mysterious fatalities being caused by this new drug sweeping the city. It’s only a matter of time before these two stories intertwine.

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The writing team of Salyers and Mulick have established a 21st century, fairy tale-environment that will have readers recalling the stories from their youth while adding adult-themed realism that will keep them hooked (pun possibly intended?). An underground rave club named NVRLND has become the target of a new drug, Pixie Dust, that makes users think they can fly being doled out by Hook. Now that’s a clever spin on the fairy tale.

n5The artwork by Leila Luiz only adds to the value of this story. Each panel felt alive and grabbed me by the imagery I think most adults have experienced or encountered in their life at school. Leila is a perfect compliment to Stephanie and Dylan as their vision truly takes form with Luiz’s artistic insight. The color palette employed is ripe for this story and the cover is one of the best I’ve seen all year. It just pops!

NVRLND is a series I will be watching with great anticipation. The premiere issue delivered much more than I expected, which was quite a pleasant surprise, and I was impressed with the overall product. The story and adult themes/suggested material (or as I like to call it, fun) shown in this issue make this series tell a captivating tale, the characters created are intriguing, and the creative team shows that they are in sync with one another. That right there should bring this series great success. If Salyers and Mulick continue to build on their dark, underground world, delve deeper into each character’s backstory, and Luiz continues to bring out quality depictions of this world, this series may have hope beyond its planned four issue run.

PopCultHQ’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

PCHQ 4.5


Synopsis for NVRLND #1:

NVRLND is a dark and magical retelling of Peter Pan set in the present-day landscape of Hollywood. Wallflower turned wild-child Wendy Darling befriends the fierce Tiger Lily and falls into the music rave scene of the underground club NVRLND. Intoxicated by the music, Wendy falls for the enigmatic Peter, lead singer of the band The Lost Boys. Peter is everything a girl could desire: handsome, daring, and reckless. Wendy discovers Peter is mixed up with the mysterious tattoo artist James Hook, who preys upon the young who flock to Peter, “hooking” them on the new designer drug, Pixie Dust. You think you may know the truth about NVRLND, but the truth is, you know nothing. NVRLND is a story for anyone who never wants to grow up, but may not live long enough to have a chance.

Check out the sweet trailer for NVRLND


Be sure to follow the creative team from #nvrlnd

451 MediaPublisher 451 Media Group:

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StephanieWriter Stephanie Salyers:

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Dylan 1Writer Dylan Mulick:

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LeilaArtist Leila Leiz:

 

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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