Published by Zenescope Entertainment
By Raven Gregory
Have you ever read a comic book that in a matter of four pages you had to turn the book a complete 180-degree circle to read it? From left to right, up to down, down to up and right to left? Doesn’t make sense to have to do that does it? Well it’s a good thing that it doesn’t make sense to have to read a comic book like that because in this case that comic is Zenescope Entertainment’s Alice in Wonderland, a realm notorious for not making sense which is just about the ONLY thing that makes sense.
Now typically I give details and spoilers, but not this time since I feel everyone should go out and spend money on this book and read it front to back, sideways and slant-ways. It wouldn’t make sense for me to give spoilers if I am telling you to buy it, now would it? So instead, I’m giving you a review, as well as the Zenescope Wonderland timeline.
Zenescope writer and editor Raven Gregory has done it again with his wonderful and twisted storytelling in what is technically the fourth installment of the Wonderland Series (‘Call of Wonderland’ being part of it, as well as ‘House of Liddle’ and ‘Tales of Wonderland‘, but I am primarily talking the main Wonderland books). Gregory gave us a new interpretation of Wonderland years ago, and with this book, we basically see how it all began, we see what these characters looked like and how they acted before Calie (Alice’s daughter) came to Wonderland. We see them as mad, but this book is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the madness of Wonderland and all it’s inhabitants, it’s only the beginning of what madness is to come.
Alice’s tale through Wonderland is only half the story though, as the rest of the story takes place with Alice on Earth. Confused? Good, that’s the point. Gregory toys around with time and what I can only describe as quite literally split personalities. To put this nicely, this ain’t your Disney Alice, mentally or appearance wise for all the characters. I noticed that a lot of others that have reviewed this comic seem to have this big gripe against how Alice looked too sexy in the outfit, which makes me wonder if they’ve read & focused on the story. The way Alice looks has nothing to do with the story people, so don’t let your perception of Alice take away from wanting to read the book and the story as a whole! Besides, Zenescope Entertainment is known to make their females leads strong, powerful and unrealistically sexy. That’s why it’s called a comic book, a work of fiction. If you want a book that allows you’re imagination to create the characters then go read a book; but then think about what Lewis Carrol’s Alice would say to that: “What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?”
The good thing about this book, other than the book as a whole, is that you can read it as part of the Wonderland continuum OR you can read it as your first Wonderland book. It is comic reader friendly, in that within dialogue and the narrative captions there are annotations for further information in the other Wonderland books, which is a good refresher for those of who may not remember certain arcs, or for those new to the series to know exactly where to turn for more information. Whether or not you have or haven’t read the entire Wonderland series, this book will still leave you with a feeling of “WTF?” when you get to the end, and you WILL crave more. I have read all the Wonderland books in their chronological order since released, but this book makes me want to go back and read them all again, because though it’s the last book according to chronological order, it really is a first book.
The artwork never disappoints in the Wonderland books, it is always a superb blend of horrifying beauty, wonder, sexy, blood, guts, and gore! Its standard images are amazing as simply black & white sketch; add the colors and its beauty come to life! I have never been so freaked out by a comic book character as I was, and still am, with Zenescope’s version of the Jabberwocky, and the white rabbit. I officially find white bunnies creepy now! It’s almost as if Wonderland could be an artists biggest dream and yet worst nightmare to draw/color because it has to have that melding of twisted gorgeous to draw & color the impossible, but as you know, in Wonderland always believe the impossible. Why, you can believe six impossible things before breakfast! They got this right though, from the characters, to the backgrounds and landscape and all the impossibly possible things! From blatant images to the small subtleties, so ALWAYS look closely. For example, as Alice is running through the woods, there are several notes on the trees, some of which pertain to the story such as ‘this way’, but others are just a small glimpse into the mind of Raven Gregory like signs that say ‘Bring Back Jean Grey’ or ‘Sexy and I know it”. As well as a funny one that reads, “Mario was here”, “Mario ate the mushrooms”, and in the tiny background we see Super Mario and a pipe portal he goes through in the video games. What do any of these have to do with the story of Alice in Wonderland, why are they there, because they can. Remember, Alice in Wonderland isn’t supposed to make sense.
Now the Wonderland continuity, for new fans to the book or older fans that would like a refresher course, I bring you Wonderland 101. There are 9 books within the Wonderland franchise, 4 of them being instrumental to the complete arc itself (Return to Wonderland, Beyond Wonderland, Escape From Wonderland and Alice in Wonderland), the other 5 are for more information on the lineage, I guess you can call it, of Alice & her ties to Wonderland characters and Wonderland itself (Tales From Wonderland Volume 1, 2 & 3, House of Liddle and Call of Wonderland). So for a great overall Wonderland experience, here is how your reading should go which features the absolute basics:
Queen of Hearts (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 1)
The Experiment (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 1)
The Arrangement (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 2)
The Red Queen (In Tales From Wonderland Volume 2)
The White Knight (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 3)
The Mad Hatter Part 2 (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 2)
The Red Rose (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 3)
Queen of Hearts vs. The Mad Hatter (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 3)
Alice (in Tales of Wonderland Volume 1)
The Mad Hatter Part 1 (in Tales of Wonderland Volume 1)
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (in Tales From Wonderland volume 2)
The Redemption (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 3)
Return to Wonderland
House of Liddle
The Chesire Cat (in Tales From Wonderland Volume 2)
Escape From Wonderland
Call of Wonderland
Alice In Wonderland
While I own every single issue & cover of Alice In Wonderland, I didn’t read them, as I was purposely waiting for the collected Hardcover to come out. I anticipated it like Christmas, and just like Christmas, I waited for this book, was overjoyed with this book, then it was over and I wait for more! Zenescope, the Wonderland stories and the writings of Raven Gregory are always on their A-game!
5 out of 5 nerds