Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wonderland #1

Wonderland #1
By Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew
Published by Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics, US $3.50

Wonderland #1 does exactly what Slave Labor’s new line of Disney-licensed comics should do. It captures the fun, playfulness of the original movie, while offering a new spin on the characters and the story. Wonderland essentially picks up where the Disney movie version of Alice in Wonderland left off. The evil Queen, still fuming over Alice’s destruction of her palace, is looking for someone to blame so she has her guards arrest Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. To save their own skins, the two buffoons implicate the White Rabbit (“I’m late, I’m late…”) and the action is set. The story also introduces a young woman named Mary Ann, whose striking resemblance to “the Alice Monster” is bound to lead her to trouble, though unlike Alice, she is concerned with little more than cleanliness and hygiene. What really makes this issue worth the money, however, is Sonny Liew’s art. Liew’s style is a sort of hybrid between Mike Ploog (Abadazad, Stardust) and Gene Colan and his sketchy style mixed with the vibrant primary colors which were so much a part of the movie version of Wonderland, work very well here. Liew is really the perfect artist for this story as he captures the familiar characters that people will remember from the movie, while also adding new characters which fit right into the surrealist fantasy world of Wonderland. Liew also does some very interesting experiments with page layouts, including a very impressive two page spread in the opening scene as Mary Ann wanders through some kind of tree portal, looking for the White Rabbit’s house. I had a feeling the art would be good, but the story by Tommy Kovac, while probably not worthy of an Eisner, will certainly satisfy kids (or anyone else who remembers to movie fondly), which is presumably who this new line of books is targeted. Overall, a very promising start to this latest Disney series. Grade : 4/5

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