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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: FTN reviews The Weirding Willows

June 18th, 2014 by Dave Bowling Comments

Writer: W.H. Rauf
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Garrie Gastonny, Rhoald Marcellius

Take one part Fables, one part League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and blend well.

Writer Dave Elliot, creator of Sharky, Maximum Force and writer for JLA, has embarked on the creation of the most off-the-wall project since Fables in The Weirding Willows. Teaming with new Indonesian artist Barnaby Bagenda, Elliot takes the reader to a corner of Victorian England where Alice once fell down the rabbit hole.

Now in her late teens, the adventurous Alice lives with her father, Dr Phillipe Moreau and tries to spend as much time away from him and his warped experiments as possible. This is fairly easy, as on the opposite side of the canal that borders their home is Willow Weir, an area of land where portals to other worlds exist, animals speak and Peter Rabbit steals radishes from Farmer MacGregor. However, the arrival of a mysterious woman in green with an order for Dr Moreau to add wings to monkeys threatens to destabilise this magic world…

As with Bill Willingham’s Fables, Elliot weaves numerous diverse literary characters together with an ease that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe look clunky. The characters interact in realistic ways, with enough unresolved mystery and ulterior motive sprinkled through the story to keep the reader’s attention going and maintain interest into the future. Bagenda’s artwork is perfectly suited to the universe Elliot creates, keeping the action flowing smoothly while detailing a magical 19th Century steampunk world.

My interest is officially piqued. Bring on volume 2 and soon.

5 out of 5 Nerds

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Dave was born at an early age to parents of both sexes. He has been a self-confessed geek for as long as he can remember, having been raised through the 80s on a steady diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Red Dwarf and (sigh) Knight Rider. Throw the usual assortment of Saturday morning cartoons into the mix and we have something quite exceptional: someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of utter tosh; a love of giant robots and spaceships fighting; and the strange desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound while wearing his underpants over his trousers. The death ray is currently in the works and one day you shall all bow to him, his giant space station and fleet of funky orange space shuttles...