by Shaun Simon, Tyler Jenkins and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Throughout this series from Dark Horse Comics, Shaun Simon has crafted a story that has blended reality and the imaginary in some fascinating ways. The book has found a way to work in allegory, philosophy and some incredibly touching moments while following an imaginary friend who stuck around too long. Neverboy #6, the end of the series, has a decent bit of ground to cover, but manages to put forth a very satisfying conclusion.
The end of the fifth issue of Neverboy was quite harrowing, as the story wrapped with Julian working his way through all of the imaginary figures people were creating with Rachel and Ben waiting hopelessly in line. The story opens with Neverboy and Fantasy Girl rushing towards the diner in an attempt to put an end to this. The momentum of the story and the urgency of the issue are infectious and impressive here. There is such desperation and panic in the voices of the two leads. Simon does an excellent job eliciting strong emotions from the readers throughout this story. In this issue, much like a previous one, there are a few moments that rise above the rest and could almost exist in isolation, as these moments truly elevate the story. There is a real philosophical voice to the narration and dialogue in this series, and as the issue reaches a conclusion, Simon’s script certainly has a significant weight.
Neverboy #6 continues to showcase just how important the art direction of a book is. Simon’s scripts are brought to life and made all the more effective through the craft of Tyler Jenkins and Kelly Fitzpatrick. As previously mentioned, this sixth and final issue feature a few moments that transcend the chapter. That effect is largely due to the art. When Fantasy Girl grabs a group of children in an attempt to slow down the effect Julian is able to have on the imaginary, what comes is a breathtaking double-page spread finding the power of the imagination of these children having transformed the entire city into something magical. The page is one to get lost in over and over, and a piece of art that won’t easily be forgotten. Later, when Julian gets a whole of Ben and Rachel, Jenkins crafts a panel with a perspective that showcases the isolation and despair of the book’s lead. It’s a wordless, single-panel that might even be breezed over by a reader. But the impact of that panel’s construction, the framing of Neverboy and his position within the frame relative to the reader speak volumes about the awareness of the artists working on Neverboy.
The final pages of this series come as a tasteful nod to fairy tales and the world of imaginative stories. As the resolution has passed, Simon has just a bit more to tell. The epilogue of Neverboy is heart-warming and beautiful. Fitzpatrick’s colors have been mesmerizing throughout the series, but the vibrancy of her color palette shines especially here as the backgrounds swirl behind the leads in the book’s final moments. Neverboy is certainly a strange concept for a book, a unique depiction of imagination with some commentary on the human experience along the way. With a compilation of fantastic talent across the board, Neverboy #6 is a fitting conclusion to a wonderful series.