by Shaun Simon, Tyler Jenkins and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Julian Drag is a man on a mission. Neverboy is a man on a mission. Each man, previously having crossed paths, is on a path to pursue the continuance of our creation of their perfect life. Shaun Simon has created a rather interesting story here with Neverboy wherein he explores the concept of the driven individual working towards perfection despite those around him. Last time, things began to sour for Neverboy and Julian decided to tempt fate and visit the diner. This issue, Simon brings the story together in a somewhat unexpected way and the momentum picks up again.
Issue four starts with Julian approaching and stepping foot in the Odyssey Diner. Despite warnings about what this kind of decision might cause, Julian’s drive to restore his name and purpose have blinded him. Tyler Jenkins crafts a very intriguing setting and manages to evoke a ton of emotion from what he depicts in this diner throughout issue four. Immediately, readers will notice the oddity of the characters populating the diner. Jenkin’s pencils and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors infuse energy in the scene. Suddenly, Julian is exposed and the tension spikes. The creative team end the sequence with a harrowing series of panels that pack in so much. Surrounded by members of this imagination world, Drag never moves from his seat. The panel of these individuals overtaken by the simple swirl of his glass are an indication of the direction Julian’s path is facing. As such, his character arc is rather tragic and impressively effective.
Meanwhile, Neverboy’s story is a bit more melancholic. The child-imagined character has lost his love and struggles to maintain the semblance of a family someday returning. He lies, miserable, on Vanessa’s couch. In recent issues, Simon’s depiction of the two characters has led the plot that follows Neverboy to feel a bit less exciting and curious than that of Julian Drag. His motivation and dream, though understandable, are more defined and reserved than the fame and grandiosity of Julian Drag’s aims. As such, his parts of the issues have felt a bit slower in their momentum. In issue four, Simon finally presents Neverboy with something more. Though his scenes and the mood were never poorly written, Simon capturing his mood perfectly in the tone and engagement of the scenes, here his story is ignited. Neverboy is brought face to face with someone from his past and, simultaneously, Simon brings a grander perspective to the trajectory of this universe. Pieces are set in place in such a way that the direction of Neverboy is much more transparent.
Thought the direction may be clearer, the end game is certainly still rather opaque. With Neverboy motivated and the consequences of his and Julian’s actions spilling out into the world, the energy level behind the overall story is certainly rising. Simon’s sequence placing Neverboy back in front of Sam’s mother and the exchange that follows has a really impressive quality in its emotional core. As Jenkins and Fitzpatrick continue to find that perfect line between abstraction and the concrete to display imagination without unraveling the story, Neverboy brings a great issue that will certainly make readers excited for issue 5.