In Review: Revenge of Wonderland #3

Two different backstories are provided to move the story forward and once complete things really begin to move.

The covers: Eight covers for you to select as if they were cups of tea at a party: there’s something for everyone! The A is by Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes. The caterpillar roars at the sky, drool pouring from its maw. Its two hands are open holding Calie who’s dressed in the iconic Alice outfit. Determination flows from her face and might be due to her holding a massive ax over her shoulders. Great illustration, though the colors have the creature blending in too much with the background. This is a rare misstep from Nunes. It’s a little thing, but does result in the color blotting up. The B cover by Allan Otero and Grostieta has Calie emerging from a tunnel, closely followed by the caterpillar. She comes out from under a tree whose roots create the opening for her to exit. She’s surrounded by several rabbits above and below her sporting demonic red eyes. Alice’s expression is a little odd, but everything about this looks great. Next up is the C by Kevin McCoy and David Ocampo and it’s a stunner. The Duchess is sitting upon a large mushroom surrounded by more of its ilk. She has a finger at her lips as though she’s lost in thought. The background is exotic and extremely colorful. This image sums up the beauty and danger of Wonderland well. The final regular frontpiece is the D cover by Edgar Salazar and Hedwin Zaldivar. The Duchess again is featured, though this time she is touching an unwilling adult’s forehead to rid him of his eyes, nose, and mouth. The unfortunate man is being held by two of her guards who have already gone through the procedure. The characters look fine, but they are too far from the reader; it’s almost as if Sanchez didn’t know how large the book’s logo would be. This is evident by the amount of space below it and the top of the villain’s hat. The colors from Zaldivar are great, with the violets being seductive and striking on the character and the skies. The Baltimore Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Derlis Santacruz and Sanju Nivangune features a blonde haired woman wearing a Mortal Kombat inspired costume outside the National Aquarium located in Baltimore. I’ve not familiar with the characters of this videogame, so having done a search online I’m going to assume she’s partially dressed as Sub Zero. I use the word partially because she’s showing quite a bit of skin. Nice cover for those collecting “Good Girl” or cosplay covers. There are also three exclusive covers to be found at the New York Comic Con, the New York Comic Con Zenbox Exclusive (limited to 150) by Santacruz and Nivangune, the New York Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 350) by Elias Chatzoudis, and the New York Comic Cosplay Wraparound Exclusive (limited to 100) by Chatzoudis. Unfortunately I couldn’t find images of these covers online, so good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A B, B A-, C A, D A-, and Baltimore Comic Con Exclusive A-

The story: Pulled together by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Raven Gregory, with Gregory writing the issue, Calie Liddle has returned to Wonderland, or what’s left of it, to get her daughter from the evil Duchess. The first two and half pages give a quick summary of what Calie’s been through with the realm of Wonderland over the years. The final panel on Page 3 returns the story to the present as the protagonist hesitates about returning, that is until she gets some surprising help. Once at the bottom of the stairs, her kick butt black leather outfit has transformed into the classic outfit from the Disney film, though the skirt is rather short. Calie is confronted by a voice that she remembers and then comes to Potter’s Field of Dreams and Dreamers, where the forgotten come to die. It’s at this location that Calie comes across a new character who bars her way. Meanwhile, the Duchess tells her origin to her recently captured children, which includes the sought after Violet. Her origin is sad, evoking sympathy for the character. This origin over, the story returns to Calie who has continued forward on her quest, only to be found by a character that’s been causing chaos since the first issue of this series. This was okay, but was primarily a backstory issue for the Countess and set Calie on her journey. Now that’s all been set in place, the writers can have the characters play for the final three issues. Overall grade: B

The art: Allan Otero really hits some high marks with this issue’s visuals. The opening page is a great creation of images to show what’s gone before, with some neat teases of events in the shards of glass from the mirror that Calie smashes. I also like the third panel on the second page: there’s a lot of dark spaces in this image that some might think as a waste of space, but they increase the tension and horror of what Calie is trying to put behind her. When the story transitions to the present, Otero uses shards of glass that overlap the final flashback panel to bring the reader into the current timeline. I like the bits of energy that surround Calie as she falls, transforming her dress. The introduction of the setting on the top of the sixth page is very ominous and having it full of melting clocks makes me incredibly happy. Page 10 is a great collection of What If situations for the character and I’ve always been a fan of artists that have a character’s face in profile and their head filled several images. I really have to applaud Otero for the tentacle work in this issue. They should be frightening appendages whenever they appear and they are absolutely icky and twisted in this book, especially from the source they issue from. Pages 16 and 17 have a partial double-paged splash that hold great strength power. The new location that Calie finds herself in is appropriately creepy and her reaction at the end of 19 is fantastic. The horror on this character’s face is wonderful. Equally impressive is the partial double-paged splash that follows revealing a familiar antagonist. The book ends on a great visual cliffhanger that really requires no dialogue to tell the reader what’s occurring. Solid work from Otero. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The colors on this book really assist the art in creating an otherworldly feel. The opening two and a half pages are given a subtle brown tint to age them for the reader, a terrific go-to visual clue to the reader that what’s being shown doesn’t take place in the present. When the present is revealed it’s full of strong violets and soft blues to transition the reader. Very cool! The blues on the dress that Calie wears completes the iconic look of the character. The location that the heroine goes to on 6 is appropriately drab, making this a very un-Wonderland-like location. When the story moves to the Duchess’s tale, Grostieta gives it all the browns, tans, and greens one would associate with a medieval life. The tentacles that appear are gray-olive, increasing their freakish appearance. The reds on the final page increase the action of the visual and the tension the character, and reader, feel. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios provides the text for this issue: scene settings, narration, dialogue, yells, signage, whispered dialogue, sounds, and the tease for next issue. The text for the scene settings, especially the opening one, look incredibly suited for a Wonderland tale, created in large bold letters, but with classical points in each, making them very whimsically. The yells are great, with my favorite being Calie’s profanity as she falls, which is written as it would sound. I also have to give a shout out to the “You impertinent human!” which is incredibly strong. Esposito never disappoints. Overall grade: A

The final line: Two different backstories are provided to move the story forward and once complete things really begin to move. The art is well done throughout, with the characters’ reactions to danger excellent. The colors add to the the wonder and terror of this setting. The letters are always enjoyable to look upon when crafted from Taylor Esposito. Calie is finally back in Wonderland and now the terror can begin! Overall grade: A-

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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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