And so concludes Felix’s arc of this epic tale of Peter Pan as seen through the lens of World War II. It’s a bittersweet note to go out on, but what isn’t bittersweet about surviving a war? In this issue, Kurtis J. Wiebe doesn’t so much end Felix’s arc with a bang as he ends it with a punch to your gut that makes every emotion hit you at once. Felix’s tale has always been one of survival and the consequences of being a survivor. Issue 15 of Peter Panzerfaust takes his curse and makes it all the more heart-wrenching when we learn about who Felix was before the war and the man he’s now become because of the war.
Previously, we learned that Jacques was actually Frederik Schmei, Kapitan Haken’s right hand man, for the most part, and just as Haken was about to put a bullet through Felix’s skull, we heard the haunting TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK that Peter Pan enthusiasts know is the only way to truly drive Hook over the edge. Even with the setting of Word War II, it’s no different. Only this time the Crocodile isn’t as much an animal as a man wielding knives, dressed in a combination of native decor and military fatigues, and carrying a pocket watch. Oh, and did I mention he’s on fire? Yeah, the Croc is on fire and it’s a startling image to behold. Tyler Jenkins outdoes himself with the introduction of the Croc. Instantly menacing and deadly, the look of fear in Haken’s eyes is palpable. Whatever happened between these two…obviously that’s a story for another day, but seeing the Croc knock Haken around with his pocket watch is a satisfying experience. But like his literary counterpart, the Croc is there and gone, leaving Felix free to do to the man who tormented him what he’s always wanted to do. Unfortunately, Jacques, or Schmei, prevents Hook’s story from ending. But neither does he give Felix the gift of a swift end. Instead, he let’s him go, hoping their paths will never cross and that he’ll find his peace some day.
Were the issue to have ended there, it might just be a decent conclusion to an otherwise intense story in the life of a man forever changed by war, but Wiebe, or rather John Parsons, takes it one step further. After finding out whether Felix ever did meet up with his friends, Parsons holds up a photograph of a woman – Elise – the one he always loved, the one he’s been waiting to meet again in the hereafter. Felix doesn’t elaborate, ending his interview with Parsons, but the next seven pages tell us the story. Without any dialogue, Wiebe and Jenkins guide us through the halcyon days of Felix’s youth, the moments he spent with the woman he loved, and the true turning point for him in the war. Before Peter and the Lost Boys there was Felix and Elise, and then there wasn’t. Forget punching you in the gut, these seven pages will rip your heart out as the potential of a life not lived is rendered in beauty and sorrow. It’s in these final pages that the man Felix has become makes perfect sense. It also puts the setting of Felix’s interview with Parsons into perspective as an old man walks amongst the gravestones, still alive despite it all.
Final Thoughts: Five days to Paris for the Lost Boys, but it’s still a journey worth taking.