Review: Peter Panzerfaust #17

The last issue of Peter Panzerfaust moved on to Tiger Lilly’s segment of the story. It really is an underappreciated story device that Kurtis Wiebe is using to tell the individual character stories, but to use that to also keep the time line of the overall plot. The way he’s crafted the story is so that each character’s role of importance actually pops when it’s their turn in the spotlight. This saves the reader and subsequently Wiebe, from back tracking over scenes the story has already covered. Again, it’s underappreciated in the fact that Wiebe pulls it off so flawlessly that most people probably don’t even notice it or give it the credit it deserves. Our lovebirds continue on their mission of avenging Lilly’s father’s death. Julian is there to support his wife and do whatever she wants, but he understands that these kills are hers to take. On their way to the next target they run into a surprise checkpoint and Julian lays on the charm. He switches to German to make the solider feel more comfortable and even after winning the solider over, they’re asked to step out of the car. For once though something goes to plan and the solider just wants a picture with Julian and his wife to remember them by. It’s strange, but it was almost admiration from the Solider that Julian and his wife could live the way they do. Lilly even comments that Julian was changed by the situation.

The rest of the issue can only be described as an intense hunt as Lilly stalks her prey. It’s not easy, but you’ll see the fierce side of Lilly and it’s something to behold for sure.

What sets this arc of the series a part is that future Lilly isn’t narrating her story like the other Lost Boys have done. We know that she made it out of the war and is still happy and married to Julian, but instead the narration is her raw emotions captured in a diary that she kept at the time. Wiebe even explains that this diary isn’t out of character for her as she stopped speaking as a child when her mother died and then to a diary helped her cope.

peter-panzerfaust17-cov-webThe usage of the diary narration is something that works very effectively in the comic medium. There are countless other comics that have used it in some form or another and likely all of them are just as successful. Here Wiebe uses it to show the two sides of Lilly. If you only saw the angry revengeful hunter side of her you’d forget who lost and emotional she is on the inside. The journal shows that softer side of her and reminds the reader that she’s not just a killer. The final pages are truly some of the best that Wiebe has written for the series and again capture how fierce and determined Lilly is.

It’s a rare thing in comics to watch an artist grow on a series. Often times the artist becomes locked in a pattern because comic fans want and expect a consistent experience from issue to issue. Tyler Jenkins has for the most part kept a consistent style on the series since the beginning. His character designs, most notably the hair styles, remain in large the same. The trick is that he’s made micro improvements with each issue. One after the other the newest issue of Peter Panzerfuast is always his best issue.

Perhaps it’s colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick that does the colors for this issue and frees Jenkins to work more on the breakdowns and details of each issue, but on the page it looks like dedication; dedication to making this series special. Wiebe gives the book its heart with his story and plot, but Jenkins supplies the blood and life of the series.

In comics, fans love their powerhouse partnerships. The combination of a writer and artist producing a lengthy body of work that is consistently great is somewhat the foundation of the industry; while I don’t know if Wiebe and Jenkins will go down as one of those duos, they did make this reviewer a fan of their work. I was a harsh critic in the beginning of this series and while I still stand by those criticisms, it’s amazing to see where this series has gone. And it couldn’t have gotten there without time and support; the support being very important because without it, this series wouldn’t have had the time it needed to grow and become what it is today. It makes you wonder what other comic book series could be like if they were just given the same.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Kurtis Wiebe Artist: Tyler Jenkins Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letterer: Ed Brisson Publisher: Image/Shadowline Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/19/14