by Jennifer Kay on

This retelling of J. M. Barrie’s original story emphasizes Peter’s luring of children to join his band of Devils in Avalon.

‘The Child Thief’ follows two illustrated horror novels by Brom, an artist whose gothic images have filled comics, films and role-playing video games such as ‘World of WarCraft’. His illustrations introduce each chapter.

Brom drapes the Peter Pan story in utter darkness. An adolescent Peter trolls present-day Brooklyn for runaways, defends them from bullies and lures them to his magical island where he promises endless playtime. In reality, he’s trying to bolster his child army for an epic battle with the Flesh-Eaters, who threaten the island’s existence. One runaway, Nick, believes he’s the only recruit to catch on to Peter’s tricks.

‘The Child Thief’ shows Peter for the selfish trickster that he is, but it fails to show us any adventure. It’s overlong and too reliant on physically describing all the festering deformities that plague Brom’s pirates. It manages to be gory and bleak without really being unsettling.

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Uh … this sounds like we should not read it. But I really like the art of Brom – perhaps I’ll give it a try … because of the artworks. What about you – do you want to read a new ‘Peter Pan’ story?