In Review: Wonderland #48

A delicious tale of horror and insanity.

The covers: Hopefully seven is a lucky number for fans, as this is the number of covers for them to collect. Roger Bonet Martinez and Beezzz Studio bring readers the A cover which has Calie and Violet surrounded by Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee and two humanoid blood red creatures, which have linked hands to enclose them. Swirling about them are dragon and jellyfish shaped creatures composed of the same red substance as the humanoids. All are standing atop a highly detailed stone floor that resembles the Aztec calendar. A lot of sharp details on this, with the composition having me wonder what the heck is going on. The B is by Noah Salonga and Leonardo Paciarotti. This has Calie dressed up like Suzy Homemaker, bending over to pull something out of an oven: the head of the Cheshire Cat! Comical and creepy, this is nice but has nothing to do with the story of this book. The C is a cover that many are going to scramble for. It’s an image of Tweedle Dee getting her groove on at a rave. Seductive image by Josh Burns doesn’t happen in this issue either, though it symbolically shows how insane the character is. This was the cover I chose to accompany this review. The ZENBOX Exclusive cover is limited to 300 copies and is by Elias Chatzoudis. Any cover by this artist is worth tracking down, but I couldn’t find an image of it anywhere online, so good luck finding this one. I was able to locate an image of the Heroes Con Exclusive, also by Chatzoudis. This cover has Calie dressed in the black cheerleader outfit for the Carolina Panthers. She’s also sporting a short blue cape. She’s got her hip cocked out as she smiles at the reader. This is limited to 350 copies and is worth adding to any collection. The Denver Comic Con Exclusive is by Eric Basaldua with colors by Ula Mos and is limited to 250 copies. This has Violet wearing one long sleeved glove and one regular glove comprised of the Denver Broncos team colors and a white bikini brief. She’s in a locker room and is marking up a play on the cover, which just so happens to cover up certain features of her naked chest. This, too, is a sexy cover and one worth finding. The final cover is the Denver Comic Con ‘Foil’ Exclusive which features the same artwork as the previous edition, though with foil enhancements. This one is ultra limited to 50 copies. Good luck! Overall grades: A A, B B, C A+, Heroes Con Exclusive A, Denver Comic Con Exclusive A+, and Denver Comic Con ‘Foil’ Exclusive A+ 

The story: Having allowed themselves to be captured by Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, Calie and Violet are taken to the barn where the evil pair have been capturing loved ones who must either starve to death or eat the ones they love. Cheshire Cat watches all that transpires and thinks to himself, ‘The hunt grows more difficult. My senses wane. The challenge should make me eager. My blood should boil with anticipation. It does not. Wariness settles into my flesh. I have the urge to run. To run — away.’ Being too long on Earth has made the creature change, and not to the women’s benefit. With the evil twins gone, Cheshire does free Calie from her bonds with his claws, while Violet frees herself with a knife she conceals on her wrist. The pair quickly move to free those tortured by the Tweedles, but it’s not going to be that easy. Erica J. Heflin concludes her Tweedle story very effectively, having the heroines see the insanity that they’ve inflicted on their victims and showing the reader just how severe it is, and severe it is. It was good to see that one of the heroines doesn’t have what it takes to finish off some of the victims, as this shows that she is healing from the radical change she endured in previous issues. I was very impressed with what Heflin does with one of the villains on Page 13 — it’s unexpected, shocking, supernatural, and a fantastic way to kick the villains up a level. The battle between both sides is extremely cool and clever with a spectacular climax. The final page is a fantastic coda, showing how the skirmish has left one of the heroes and returning to the little boy that opened this tale last issue. Overall grade: A

The art: Ferran Sellares closes out this storyline and the visuals look great. The first panel of the book sets up the characters and their environment without dialogue, showing the heroines’ predicament with the villains and the creepy barn. Dum is a perfectly disgusting mess, with slobber coming from his mouth as he dreams of eating his victims. The large panel on Page 3 reinforces the scale of the barn and Cheshire, as he dashes away, barely seen in the illustration. I was pleased to see a bit of levity after the intense opening, as the reactions of Calie and Cheshire to Violet’s possession of a knife is comical. The fun quickly ends after the victims are revealed, which begins with a great bit of perspective in the bottom panel on Page 5. Things are really graphic on 6 – 9, but they need to be given the horrific nature of the story. The reactions of the heroes in the third panel on 7 are excellent; they show the reader each of their emotional states. The figure on the far right is the most impressive, as she is primarily in the darkness, which mirrors her state as she makes her way through a Wonderland infected world. The third through fifth panels on 9 neatly show action occurring beyond the reader’s view; this is very slick, for whatever horrors the reader can imagine, those imagined are always worse than what’s shown. The emanations that emerge from the Tweedles are sick, yet undeniably interesting to look at. Dum’s involvement in the final conflict is gross, but true to his character. I’d love to see Sellares do more work. Overall grade: A

The colors: The colors on this book by Leonardo Paciarotti are terrific. The first panel shows that colors will be strong; the evening sky is a unearthly violet, rather than black or blue. The colors of the Tweedles’ clothes are Burger King disturbing, perverting a familiar location into something dark. Red is the dominant color of this book, used to show the terrible effects of the twins on innocents and to give life to their supernatural creations. Using this color made the events much more horrific than if they had been given a magical green or violet, and it emphasizes their horrors. I love how this color makes one final ironic showing in the first two panels of the final page, telling readers that though defeated, the Tweedles live on in the heroines’ memories. Overall grade: A

The letters: Setting, dialogue, narration, a whisper, yells, Cheshire speak, and sounds are cooked up by Christy Sawyer. All are good, and the sounds absolutely add to insanity of the final battle. I double dog dare a reader not to hear Dum’s slurps and belches after this has been finished. Overall grade: A

The final line: A delicious tale of horror and insanity as two characters from Wonderland bring their unique brand of terror. A highly enjoyable read that has me dreading the void this series will leave after concluding with Issue #50. Overall grade: A

To order this book or other titles involving Wonderland characters go to https://shop.zenescope.com/

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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