Posts Tagged ‘revenge’

PeterPanzer16CoverThis article was originally posted at Word of the Nerd on January 16th.

If you’ve been reading Peter Panzerfaust, then you’ll agree with me when I say that the book has become far more than just a reimagining of Peter Pan set in World War II. While there are moments that seem larger than life, it’s only because Peter has become such a figure to his friends. His ongoing battle of wits and wills with Kapitan Haken, or “The Hook”, is practically a story within a story since the focus of each arc remains on the people who surrounded Peter. They saw him risk everything, concocting crazy schemes with unbelievable confidence and a smile, but they also witnessed the extent to which he would sacrifice himself to protect the people he loves. The manner through which Peter’s story is framed also gives Kurtis J. Wiebe the ability to expand upon the stories of the Lost Boys and the Braves, adding the human element needed to ground the book in the reality of war and the effect it had on each person interviewed by the reader’s surrogate, John Parsons.

Picking up the narrative from the previous arc, Wiebe and artist Tyler Jenkins backtrack a bit as we see John Parsons visiting the Lost Boys’ former homebase, the Sticks, which is now under the care of a kindly old woman. While Parsons is walking the grounds and examining the rooms, we get the juxtaposition of the past and present as we see Peter and the others defending their home that’s come under attack from Hook’s Hunters. Surrounded by gunfire, the rebels have two options: fight or run. Peter opts for the latter, knowing that Lily’s father, the deceased Chief, would probably be annoyed with them if they stuck around and died for no reason. Unfortunately, they have to leave the Chief’s body behind and in order to give his friends enough time to escape, and give Lily time to say goodbye to her father, Peter “casts his own shadow” and takes Hook’s Hunters head on.

In the previous arcs, Parsons spoke with Tootles, Julien, and Felix but this time around we pick up the story from Tiger Lily’s point of view. Unlike the former Lost Boys, Lily’s story isn’t one she’s willing to speak about. Instead, she gives her journal and various documents to Parsons so that he can suss out the details for himself. Lily’s reasons for declining an interview reinforce the point Wiebe has been making throughout the entire run of the book. War changes a person. It’s cliché, but it’s true. War brings out aspects of human nature that we’re often unprepared to Peter_Panzerfaust_16[1]deal with and, in Lily’s case, this particular chapter is all about revenge for the death of her father. She’s not proud of who she became during this portion of the war, but at the time it was necessary, something she had to do and any solider, any person caught up in a war for that matter, could say the same. What I find intriguing is the way Lily’s story will be told. Tootles, Felix, and Julien were recounting their time during the war from memory, which you could argue colors the story. Lily’s will be told from her journal. Though still capable of containing embellishments and there’s always the issue of recalling something when writing it down after the fact, Lily’s journal is an immediate, reactionary, and primary source. Through Parsons’ research, the reader will get to dive into Lily’s head in a way that might have been different if she’d sat down for an interview like her husband.

As always, Tyler Jenkins art is stunning and gorgeous and I’m definitely going to run out of adjectives the more I do the reviews for this book. Suffice it to say, when Wiebe lets the silence do the talking, Jenkins art guides you just as deftly as Wiebe’s words. The opening sequence is testament to that fact. Like I mentioned earlier, the juxtaposition of Parsons exploring the Sticks while we see the events unfold from the past is a brilliant piece of storytelling. The present-day Sticks and Parsons are warm and inviting while the Sticks from the past is colored in darker tones of grey and blue that emphasizes the dire situation through the lens of memory. Again, gorgeous.

Rating – 10/10

Final Thoughts: The hunt is on. One down, four to go.

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ghosted5_cover

This was previously posted at Word of the Nerd on November 6th.

Heist stories are difficult to pull off effectively. We’re essentially rooting for the bad guys, even if the narrative frames them as the good guys. They just happen to be the lesser of two evils. It’s also not enough to have a goal and a team, there have to be enough twists and turns in the story for the payoff at the end. If everything goes according to plan, then what’s the point, but if nothing works out, then it’s a ticking clock until everybody either dies or gets arrested. We want the team to succeed, but we also need them to earn their reward. In order to do that, plans need to go awry, betrayals need to happen, and actions have to be taken so the audience can feel how high the stakes are for these people should they fail. In Ghosted #5 Joshua Williamson manages to get everything right about the climax of a heist story while upping the ante with the ultimate payoff.

With the Ghost Hunter/Adventure red shirts dead and the rest of the currently-living members of the team trapped in the Trask Mansion, Jackson confronts Anderson about her loyalty to their mutual employer, Markus, whom Anderson is intent on delivering the still possessed Trick to because Markus, long ago, saved her from the Eastern European slave trade. Why? Because she reminded him of his sister, though Jackson knows for a fact Anderson hardly resembles her. Desperate to get out, Anderson figures she can offer a new ghost to the house in exchange for Trick, stabbing Jackson in the back – the least subtle place one can stab another person. With Jackson bleeding out on the floor, King suggests Rusnak make contact with the spirits since it may be their only way out. Donning the spiritually amplified mask, Rusnak finally makes contact and reveals the true secret of the house. As it turns out, Markus is the sole living member of the Trask family, sacrificing his sister’s life so he could live forever on the condition that the mansion remain haunted. Capturing the ghost was the only way Markus’ curse could remain intact. While this hardly fazes Anderson, Jackson plays his trump card when Rusnak, the psychic, switches sides and helps Jackson implement his plan. To go any further is venturing into way too many spoilers, but it’s a good plan, one that would make Danny Ocean proud. Ya know, if he was involved in a heist involving haunted mansion, ghosts, and immortal murderers.

Turning the TablesWilliamson’s story really shines when it’s delving into Jackson’s methodology and psyche. He’s always the man with the plan, the guy capable of seeing the bigger picture, bringing the right group of people together to accomplish the task at hand. Being a good planner, however, doesn’t mean he remotely cares about the actual people he involves in his endeavors. The death of his team prior to the events of Ghosted, the botched job that left him the sole survivor of a horrific ordeal and got him sent to prison, forever changed his perspective, making him a man forever haunted by his own actions. In the aftermath, he now cares if the people on his team live or die, even Anderson, which is why he goes to great lengths to convince her to betray Markus. In a way, he was trying to give her an out even if he knew she probably wouldn’t budge. You could say his actions were noble, but I’ sure even Jackson would say he just needed to be sure where she stood before committing to his plan. I do love the very subtle way Williamson and Goran Sudzuka visually shift the power play between Jackson and Anderson. When Anderson stabs Jackson, his hair gets mussed up to reflect the scattered state of his plan and their situation. However, when Jackson turns the tables on Anderson, the panel shows him slicking his hair back, returning it to the sleek, debonaire style indicative of his Sinatra-like persona. It’s well done and perfectly captures the moment in any heist movie where the whole plan is revealed. The book may lack the space to backtrack, but the explanation given and the events that follow pack the right punch narratively and tonally. It helps that Sudzuka’s ghosts are creepy as all get out.

Final Thoughts: If the next arc is what I think it is, Jackson will never be able to rest in peace.

The trade paperback for Ghosted Vol. 1, collecting issues #1-5, is available for pre-order and will be released in December.