In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents Wonderland #32

A good entry point for any reader with a unique character being the focus.

The covers: A foursome for you to find your own perfect version of the Queen. The A cover is by Vinz el Tabanas. It shows the White Queen trying to escape from several Cheshire Cats which are closing in on her. A little cartoonish, but I like it. The coloring is done nicely to highlight the creatures after her, and she stands out being clothed in white. Marat Mychaels and Ivan Nunes do the B cover which has a great point of view. The reader is behind the White Queen, from the ground, looking up as she does at the gigantic Cheshire Cat looming above her. The animal is so immense only his head is able to fit on the cover. Nicely done with really good coloring–love the flaming oranges at the bottom contrasted against the purple feline. The C is by Emilio Laiso with a triumphant White Queen about to deliver a killing blow to the Jack of Hearts, whose back is on the ground. Both are screaming as her sword descends. Good image, but the background should have been brighter to make the illustration pop more. The final cover is a Valentine’s Ultra Rare Retailer cover by Franchesco. A gorgeous raven haired woman wearing a shining black and white corset licks a lollipop seductively while looking at the readers. Uh…It has nothing to do with this issue, but it sure is an attractive drawing. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C B+, and Valentine’s URRI A+

The story: The first five pages of “The Forest of Grinning Teeth” by Erica J. Heflin has the White Queen and Jack of Hearts training their men before sparring with each other. Their workout is interrupted with the news that the Cheshire has disappeared. The rest of the book focuses on Cheshire returning to his people to pay the price for leaving them to serve the new White Queen. The giant Cheshire Lord finds him guilty and the chase is on for blood. This was a good introduction to the character of the Cheshire and show him to be more than just an animal sidekick. As he’s being pursued by his gigantic lord, he muses over his shameful past and what he believes he now stands for. I was drawn into this cat’s personality and enjoyed the conflict with his ruler. The outcome was in doubt for me, since this was my first exposure to this series. The dialogue at the top of Page 20 was outstanding–not at all what I expected for this book, but perfectly acceptable for the situation. This made the story more believable. I liked how the conflict was resolved and this makes me want to read the next issue and seek out the earlier issues. Overall grade: A

The art: Portions of this book are difficult to make out because the coloring is so dark. What can be seen of Vincenzo Riccardi’s work is good. I enjoyed the opening five pages and the choreography of the fight. It’s rare to be able to follow a sword fight in a comic book without having to create mental bridges in the swordplay, but Riccardi’s fight doesn’t need that bridge. Each swing puts the character in a new location which is easy to follow, and I appreciated that. I also enjoyed the look on the characters’ faces as they sparred, with Jack being especially roguish. Once in the Forest of Grinning Teeth, the coloring gets dark, as it should be, but it gets so dim it’s hard to see certain elements in the panels, and with Cheshire being a purple and blue cat he blends in too easily. The confrontation between the two cats is really well done, considering that one cat is so large it can’t be entirely seen even on a splash page. What I could see, I liked. Overall grade: B+

The colors: Ben Sawyer should have cheated more with his coloring to allow the art to be seen. Bright blue would have been fine for the night sky, which would have allowed the characters and setting to be more visible. The first panel on Page 6 is too dark to make out what’s going on. If it weren’t for the dialogue this setting would be questionable. The top of 11 is also hard to discern, as is the bottom of 15. Only the arrival of new characters on the final three pages brightens up the book. If I can’t see the visuals, I can’t enjoy this. Overall grade: C-

The letters: Dialogue and narration are provided by Christy Sawyer. I enjoyed what she did but wanted some sounds during the sword fight and having the Cheshires’ dialogue a different font would have made them more threatening. Overall grade: B

The final line: A good entry point for any reader with a unique character being the focus. This encourages me to continue with this series. Overall grade: B

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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