Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review - Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot (@Zenescope)


"I don't want to sleep. There's two boogeymen who come out of my closet when it's dark."

A fear of things that go bump in the night is one thing. A fear of things that go bump in the night and come through your closet as a portal to another world is another thing entirely. In Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot from Zenescope Entertainment, it's the latter that gets the attention. The issue is written by Donald Joh, illustrated by Gregbo Watson, colored by Erick Arciniega and lettered by Matt Krotzer.

The third of six special 2015 Zenescope 10th Anniversary One-Shots is here. When Alice befriends a boy during her imprisonment in Wonderland, will the madness of the mysterious realm destroy them both or will their friendship keep them from losing their sanity? Return to a Wonderland unlike one you've seen before and watch as Alice's adventures turn into her worst nightmares.

It's easy to say that Alice's "adventures" in Wonderland were anything but that, considering the levels of insanity she dealt with while trying to survive and get back. Joh certainly doesn't shy away from said insanity, focusing on Alice and her determination to befriend another in Wonderland. What's interesting about Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot is that the book is largely told from the perspective of her friend named John, a boy whose childhood is anything but enjoyable. Setting his maturation against the craziness of Wonderland is an interesting choice and Joh capitalizes on that parallel to plumb the depths of John's sanity. The end of the issue boasts a pretty bold reveal as well that puts the rest of the issue into context, as well as rationalizing other facets of Alice's personality.

Watson's style is a very measured approach, presenting John and Alice as essentially foils to one another. John's appearance starts relatively simple enough as a young boy, but as he ages it's readily apparent that the rough life he's lived hasn't done him any favors physically. There's a pretty staggering series of panels where Watson depicts John aging against a static Alice that really hits home all the trials and tribulations he's gone through. Watson also illustrates some of the more terrifying aspects of Wonderland quite deftly, presenting them in a way that convinces the reader that there are truly terrors in the other realm. Considering the violent nature of Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot is awash in red for most of the issue, courtesy of Arciniega's emphasis on anger that comes with blood.

Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot is a pretty solid one-shot that doesn't really explore much of the Grimm Fairy Tales universe. Still, it's got an interesting take on Wonderland's effects on individuals not familiar with (or equipped to handle) it. Joh's story is pretty straightforward and moves along at an excellent pace that builds up to a rather surprising ending. Watson's illustrations are clean and demonstrate a certain polish, capturing what it means to be scared of Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot will have appeal to fans of Zenescope in general, as well as those looking for another take on the perverse nature of Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland Tenth Anniversary One-Shot is in stores July 15.

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