By Dan Wickline
“The Jabberwocky has been defeated! The Queen of Hearts is dead and Wonderland is in a state of chaos with no ruler on the throne! Enter the Red Knight, who is determined to destroy all of Wonderland and the world at large by unleashing a deadly ancient force long thought to be gone. Meanwhile on earth, a literary student researching Lovecraft will discover a long-forgotten secret that could save, or damn us all!”
In this story we are introduced to Julie Sands, a literary student doing a thesis paper on HP Lovecraft. A mysterious librarian shows up during this time and claims that the library has acquired what could possibly be HP Lovecraft’s journal. While Julie is reading through the journal, she discovers that Lovecraft has been plagued with nightmares, until he realizes that his nightmares & dreams were messages leading him somewhere to something that needed to be seen. He is led to a seemingly abandoned house, overhears two men talking and sees with his very own eyes these men open a small portal to Wonderland as a monstrous creature begins to make it’s way into our world. Lovecraft used it as a muse and began to write about the creature, depicting it word for beautiful word until the creature disappears. Julie cannot believe that is what really happened and begins to doubt the factuality of the journal until a creature emerges from a book and attacks her inside the library.
We are then introduced to Salome Grey, a Kat Von D-esque tattoo artist on the other side of the city with no connections at all to Julie, in fact she is quite the opposite of Julie in both attitude, past and appearance. Julie seeks her out via a business card for the tattoo parlor that she found within the journal, and has seen in her dreams. Yet again, what happened to Julie in the library now happens inside the tattoo parlor for both girls as a still fresh tattoo on a client comes to life and attempts to kill them.
Unfortunately for Julie & Salome, security cameras don‘t record what actually happened to them in the tattoo shop. When cops & Detective Legrasse show up to investigate the parlor after a passerby calls it in, security footage shows Julie & Salome viciously killing the client with the tattoo and not the creature from which the tattoo came to existence.
Together Julie & Salome further read into the journal, Lovecraft has been caught by the men he had first seen while following them on another night, he sees the mirror often used as the main portal to Wonderland. Lovecraft is offered a proposition to be the guardian of the two realms (Wonderland & Earth) by writing about what he sees therefore capturing it. That “words block the passage by putting up a wall; the more complex and dense the writing, the thicker the barrier between realms.”
Meanwhile in Wonderland, the Red Knight is out for blood, Wonderland took his home & family, and he wants Wonderland to bleed. He is trying to get onto Earth to destroy the last guardian between Wonderland and Earth so he can put the final nail in the coffin of Wonderland, even if it means destroying Earth in the process.
Back with another installment of Zenescope’s Wonderland mythos, writer Dan Wickline takes the reigns on this mini-series instead of Wonderland creator/writer Raven Gregory. While Dan follows the same formulas as the other Wonderland books, fans of the series were weary of another writer taking hold of a realm that was already shaped and molded to nonsensical perfection by it’s father Gregory. Personally though, I feel that Wickline gave us something refreshing to read. Wonderland has been very successful and will continue to so with a different perspective and writer every now and then, it’s like having a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crush after so many years of having Apple Jacks, that while you love your Apple Jacks, occasionally its nice to have another cereal that you love.
Enough with the horrible analogies though, The Call of Wonderland was a book that I didn’t expect. Not as in I didn’t expect to like it, but I didn’t expect a story like this. Being a fan of the series, I didn’t expect to be thrust so quickly from the rabbit hole back into the real world with characters that are not directly linked to the family lineage of the Liddle’s.
What I absolutely love about this book is that it is written so well that I can almost believe it to be true. I can honestly believe that the works of HP Lovecraft are not that of fiction but that these are things he has seen, wrote about and all within the confines of a book to be forever trapped, never to be set loose upon the world. I often say that about emotions when I write, that it’s best to write them out and keep them in a book trapped so they don’t haunt you, so why can’t it be plausible for monsters and creatures? Has a comic book ever left you with the feelings and thoughts of “THIS could actually be true”? Well this book gave me that feeling, and when a book or comic book can leave me questioning what is or isn’t reality than you know you have a winner on your hands. I could even see, hell I would LOVE to see the Lovecraft angle of this book become it’s own book should they ever decide to go that route.
Also, Wickline gave Call of Wonderland it’s own history so to speak. With this book he successfully continued to give die-hard Wonderland fans more mythologies about the realm, how it came to be, how our realm was shielded from it, etc. But as a reader you didn’t really need to know about the Wonderland series up until this point. Of course following the Wonderland story prior to this book helps, but it didn’t hurt the story that was being told. You can pick up from here and not be lost; it makes sense in the realm of nonsense. This truly follows the comic book guideline of ‘every comic book is someone’s first comic book’ yet it wasn’t oversaturated with flashbacks or ‘here’s what you need to know before you continue’ panels.
The follow-up to “Call of Wonderland” is titled the “Madness of Wonderland” which still follows the journal of HP Lovecraft, Detective Legrasse & more is in stores NOW!
3 out of 5 Nerds