ADVANCE REVIEW & PREVIEW: Peter Panzerfaust #1

Peter Panzerfaust #1

Peter Panzerfaust #1

Written by Kurtis Wiebe
Art by Tyler Jenkins

34 pages / Full Color / $3.50

Image Comics

There are few stories so sorely needed as those told at bedtime, wolves pawing at the door. Comfort by candlelight, yarns spun to warm us in the doubting, worrying hours before the dawn. We build up our Neverlands when our earthly foundations fail us. It’s what J.M Barrie did for generations of lost boys and girls in need of escape and sanctuary with his adventures of Peter Pan, the everlasting boy who howled in the face of oppressive authority. It was a little audacious for Victoriana, and maybe even a little punk rock today. Hanging with Tiger Lily in the wilderness, facing down hook-handed corsairs with nothing but dirks and the animal pelts on your back.

Next month, Pete and the Lost Boys strikes back in a new series from Green Wake and Intrepids author Kurtis Wiebe. The book’s called Peter Panzerfaust, and yes, there are tanks. No longer the spiteful sprite from a far-flung realm of ticking crocodiles and mischievous mermaids, Peter is cast as a rogue doughboy, a young American rapscallion adrift in the smoldering streets of Calais, France during WWII. Peter’s military history and standing are as yet unknown, but he takes an early initiative, rallying a troop of orphans in a resistance effort against the Germans. It’s an inspired repurposing of a classic tale, and Wiebe has already done clever and surprising work of transporting beloved elements of Barrie’s whimsical play to the dire theater of war. I’m eager to see how other characters and concepts take shape, given that this is far from a paint by numbers adaptation. We’ve seen no shortage of literary mashups in the murky wake of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies, but Wiebe’s new spin on Peter Pan is refreshing and inventive, a novel combination of fairy tale and war story. It’s a darker take on the original, but it retains the sense of wonder and adventure, a tonally appropriate update. That can hardly be said of so many shambling genre-benders littering the shelves of late.

It’s easy enough to play matching games with this brand of adaptation, but Wiebe actually succeeds best in his departures from the original plot. The shadow Peter pursues through war-ravaged France is not his own, but that of a lost love. There’s also a noticeable exclusion of supernatural elements or fantasy, lending Peter’s brash abandon a palpable gravity. No kidding around. People die as casualties of war are wont to do. There’s no escape into a vibrant dreamscape, just the cold embrace of death. So, while Peter Panzerfaust is hardly a fairytale, it’s a compelling companion to its source material for those who’ve come of age with its fond memory. It’s still early, but it has all the makings of a story rife with the ambitions of Hook, minus that project’s fumbles. It’s not an entirely joyless affair either, but it turns the prospect of flight from a child’s daydream to a call to action. And if you’re expecting some kind of R.A.F. dogfight in the first issue, it’s not as broad as that. This is a more human story about meek orphans turning to survivors. Survivors turning to freedom fighters. It’s about growing up without submitting to the loss of vigor and hope. Peter, as ever, is the spirit of adventure and youthful vitality. Here he’s not thumbing his nose at parents, but at tyranny and defeat.

In this first issue, artist Tyler Jenkins displays wonderful expression, deftly capturing the ravages of age as well as the lanky gate of youth. Our narrator Tootles is burdened with an impossible coil of chins, an old man who has lived each and every one of his years. But he comes alive at the recollection of his boyhood friends. Peter himself is a spindly warrior, almost elfin in countenance, with a crest of hair swept to the side as if constantly on the run. He’s as sly and vulpine as the Disney version, but with a look all his own. There’s an energy to each page, beautifully offset by the bleak ruins of the French city. The look is wholly appropriate, though I look forward to new locales and a departure from the dull browns and grays of the first issue in subsequent installments.

There’s still a brief window to pre-order this one. I recommend checking in on the ground floor, because it’s positioning itself as one of the most compelling stories of the new year. Whether you believe in fairies or not.


Story: 4 / Art: 4 / Overall: 4

(Out of 5 Stars)

Until the release of Peter Panzerfaust #1 next month, here’s a preview!


  1. I’ve been loving all of the stuff Kurtis Wiebe has been putting out. The art and story behind this looks fantastic. Might have to pick up a few copies to hand out to friends!

  2. This title sent my brain to the (now defunct, I think) neo-Nazi Panzerfaust Records and I broke out in a cold sweat.

  3. I’m in.

  4. Pre-ordered this some time ago. Loving the recolored pages here. Can’t wait for all these new Image comics.

  5. The article with a picture of Deathstroke has 163 comments. So far, this has just a couple. Damn you people.

    This book looks like it is going to be AWESOME! Wiebe is kicking ass with Green Wake, and this looks fantastic, too.

  6. Looks interesting

  7. Thanks for the positive response everyone, and to Ifanboy for a really great review write up. Paul’s a wicked writer.

    I just finished the script for Issue #3 and it is insane, you’re going to love it. Drop me a line on twitter if you want to chat, I’m pretty easy to contact! @kurtisjwiebe

  8. I’m definitely adding this to my pull.

  9. Looks like it might be good.

  10. I listened to a podcast about this series over at ign and i already love the direction he’s taking it to. I went to my comic book shop looking for this book last Thursday but didn’t realize it wasn’t out yet.

  11. I’m intrigued! Certainly looks like it will be worth picking up the first issue.

  12. Green Wake is one of the most haunting and dark books out there…I am so excited to see what he does here…and as a call to arms to avoid the fate of Green Wake and Last of the Greats…no trade waiting, people!

    • *I realized I talked more about Green Wake than I did about how friggin’ awesome this looks! Definitely added to my pull list!

    • Hopefully more people pick up this book so it can continue as an on-going. Green Wake ends at issue #10 because of sales. I wish everyone would just trade one of the crappy books they keep buying every month for something great once and a while.

  13. This looks really great. After finally picking up X-Force & reading Fantomex’s accent in my head, I’ve been wanting some more French characters to follow.

    And I’ve been following Jenkins’ art on Deviant for a while. Great to see him attached to this project!