In Review: Wonderland #47

Without question, this is the best issue of this series in quite a while.

The covers: Four different covers to drive you mad as you track them all down. The A cover is by Roger Bonet Martinez and Santosh. This looks like Violet has gone to the wrong movie theater. She’s flanked on either side by Tweedledum and Tweedledee who’ve made this cinema a house of horrors: a skeleton sits behind them, a skull is on the floor, and an eyeball accompanied by gore is on the floor. That orb has hit the concrete because it fell out of Dum’s popcorn box which is peppered with several eyeballs. He’s leaning over to offer a taste, while Dee is holding back her head so Violet has no choice in the matter. Yeah, this is what crazy must look like. The B comes courtesy of Noah Salonga and Leonardo Paciarotti. This has Dum offering an empty platter to Calie, who’s wearing an Alice outfit. The setting is comprised of stone walls and a stone floor, as if this is a far off castle. Wherever it is, Calie isn’t happy. The platter before her is empty. Hmm…What could this possibly foreshadow? A good image from a high up angle, but it would be better if the image were pulled in closer to the characters. The C is the one to track down. This is by Josh Burns and it’s an absolutely lush painting of Calie with her black locks, but in an Alice outfit. She’s in a forest, with a white rabbit below her, a friendly looking Dee and Dum behind her, and high in a tree is the Cheshire Cat. This is how most people picture a modern Wonderland. It’s absolutely beautiful and will entice people to open this book, resulting in them being stunned by the contents within. There’s also a Cosplay Exclusive cover by the extremely talented Elias Chatzoudis. I can’t find an image of it anywhere online, so good luck finding that one! Overall grades: A A-, B B-, and C A+

The story: “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” is probably the most deviant issue of Wonderland I’ve ever read. Erica J. Heflin starts things off at “Day 3” with a little boy sitting in a kitchen littered with empty containers and open drawers. He’s complaining to his sock puppet that he’s hungry and he wants his mommy and daddy to come home. A turn of the page and it’s “Day 4.” The scene has shifted to Calie and Violet’s car, with the younger eating a cheeseburger. Cheshire Cat tells the young woman it’s not real food. Calie offers him a french fry, but he declines. The feline thinks to himself, ‘The yearning for the hunt wanes. I have spent too many days away from Wonderland.’ The cat then tells the former White Queen of Wonderland has deliberately been driving “around the city that the Queen of Hearts inhabits. You are avoiding her.” Calie shuts down and the story moves to “Day 5.” Tweedledee, an attractive woman, and Tweedledee, a gigantic bear of a man, are outside a barn. Dee says to her brother, “It’s a beautiful night for love, don’t you think?” He gives a non-committal grunt. A shot within the barn shows a man and woman, bound, gagged, and stripped to their undergarments. What follows is a disturbing show of love between the couple, and others who have fallen victim to the siblings’ mad plans, while the pair from Wonderland are beautifully calm and collect while they ruin families’ lives. The scene with a survivor is very tense, with knowing readers able to deduct how the moment must end. Page 19 was a bit much, as it really doesn’t really add anything to the story, save more shock. Pages 20 – 22 are the perfect way to have Calie and Violet meet the deviant brother and sister and things end in a decent cliffhanger. Through all the ghastliness of this tale, the commentary that Heflin is able to weave throughout about food is very much something to chew over while waiting for the next issue. Overall grade: A-

The art: The visuals on this book are a big step up for artist Giorgia Sposito. The first page nicely establishes the boy and his situation in three panels, pulling into the character to create a good sense of helplessness. The first panel on Page 2 is a beautiful contrast to what was on the previous page, with Violet about to bite into a burger. The Cheshire Cat looks terrific, who emotes just as well as the women in the car; the look on his face when offered a fry at the bottom of this page is great. Also great is the contrast between mother and daughter, with Calie having a welcome moment of joy on her face that quickly turns deadly serious, while Violet is in absolute heaven as she eats. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are well designed, with outfits that resemble those from Burger King from the 1970s (Yes, I’m old enough to remember). Spositio really knows how to direct a reader where to look; the first panel on Page 4 establishes the barn setting, and it’s a huge structure, but by having the characters right outside its main entrance, it’s impossible to miss them. The close up on the pair in the second panel establishes their personalities visually because of the way they’re standing. The final panel which shows the bound couple gives a good sense that something is really wrong with them being in this location. The partial double-paged splash of 6 and 7 really sets up the horror with how the couple is left. The distance is outstanding. Most of this page is without dialogue, and each panel really makes things tense. There’s some nice horror that starts out on the sly, such as that wicked final panel on 14; it’s just creepy. 18 and 19 are the most graphic of the issue; the former is much more subtle than the latter, which is just too over the top. Sposito has illustrated the scene exactly as I’m sure the script stated, but it’s borderline silly, were it not so disgusting. The final three pages show Violet really getting into her part, much to the surprise and dislike of her mother. This is the best this book has looked in some time. Overall grade: A-

The colors: This issue also has some really strong colors, thanks to Leonardo Paciarotti. A sickly orange is a nice way to highlight the wasted state of the young boy alone at home. The next two pages are absolutely gorgeous in violet, to highlight the joy of the younger Liddle. It also provides a nice way to focus on the cat, who’s a major part of both pages. The sequences in the barn are realistically colored, but with Dee and Dum wearing mustard and ketchup colored outfits they stand out sensationally, harkening back to a fast food giant’s past. That delectable final panel on 14 is outstandingly colored in flesh tones. The powder blues on 20 and 21 really makes it seem as though the two heroines are about to enter Heaven. For such a horror story of a tale, the colors in this book are beautiful. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Christy Sawyer provides scene settings with days, dialogue, Cheshire thoughts, sounds, and a marquee. Everything she does is very easy to read and the sounds nicely add some auditory sensations to the story, but I wish that Cheshire’s dialogue had had it’s own unique font, rather than just be a different shaped dialogue balloon. Still, what Sawyer does is good. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: This issue gives John Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland” a terrific twist. Without question, this is the best issue of this series in quite a while. Though beware, this is not for children! Creepy and cool with great visuals. Overall grade: A-

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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