If nothing else, The Nevers has amply demonstrated that Joss Whedon has outlived his time and is no longer the wunderkind who gave us Buffy.

That’s without even considering the numerous allegations of abusive and manipulative behaviour arrayed against him by a lengthy roster of co-workers (although while we’re mentioning it, Michelle Trachtenberg’s assertion that Whedon was barred from being left alone in a room with her when she was a teenager appearing in Buffy the Vampire Slayer should have been the end of his career). Even if you can divorce the art from the artist, there’s not much to recommend here for any but the most ardent fan of steampunk/historical fantasy/corsets and nice hats. You’ve seen all this before.

Indeed, The Nevers is pretty much an act of self-plagiarisation. Back in 2007 when he was writing a run of Marvel’s The Runaways comic, Whedon sent that teen super team back in time to encounter a subculture of superpowered beings in early 20th century New York City. Subtract a couple of decades and pour in a mix of British accents, and that’s basically The Nevers, a series set in a 19th century London where people have started randomly developing superpowers.

Some nasty types are kidnapping these “touched” individuals and one particularly unhinged serial killer is knocking them off one by one. Hard-drinking precognitive Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and her technologically-inclined offsider Penance Adair (Ann Skelly) hare around London in a rather anachronistic hot rod, rescuing them and taking them to the sanctuary orphanage established by wealthy Lavinia Bidlow (Olivia Williams). There they can learn to use their powers for good. Williams’ character isn’t bald but may as well be: this is Victorian X-men for all intents and purposes.

Read more at Flicks.com.au.

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