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Calie travels through the looking glass one last time on a desperate mission to rescue her daughter.

If you don’t know anything about Zenescope’s best selling Wonderland series, I would advise that you go to your local comic store and pick up the Return to Wonderland hardback along with back issues of Beyond Wonderland (the Tales from Wonderland trade paperback is also a great read which contains individual stories on characters such as the Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts). You don’t necessarily have to read the first two chapters to enjoy Escape but it will add to your reading pleasure. If you’re new to the series, this is pretty much all you need to know: Alice’s daughter Calie has traveled back to Wonderland to save her baby girl Violet, who was kidnapped by the Mad Hatter (Calie’s brother, Johnny).

EW_01_MeloCMYKsm.jpgIssue one opens with a scene in Wonderland’s graveyard where Alice is buried or at least, the piece of her subconscious that was left behind when she first left the dimension as a child. A cloaked creature is present and senses that Calie has returned.

Outside the Queen’s castle, Calie emerges from a lake fully equipped with weapons. Now that she’s back in Wonderland, her appearance transforms and she takes on the card guards before bursting into the throne room. The Queen of Hearts is no longer in power and it is now the Red Queen who sits upon the throne along side the Suicide King (for more on how the Red Queen took over, pick up Tales from Wonderland: The Red Queen). The Queen summons her minions to attack but stops them when Calie demands to know the whereabouts of her child. She takes an interest in Calie and desires to hear her story before deciding to help her. Why the soft spot? Perhaps it’s because Wonderland also took her child; the Suicide King is in fact her son and they were recently reunited. The Red Queen directs Calie to the Jabberwocky’s lair.

Outside the lair, Johnny (The Mad Hatter) is preparing to enter with baby Violet. He passes through a guard, a hideous creature who is outraged it cannot feast upon the baby before facing the Jabberwocky himself. Apparently the Jabberwocky’s plans can now begin now that the baby has been delivered to him.

Calie finds herself at the Carpenter’s restaurant, a place she visited during her first trip to Wonderland. Not much has changed; the bloody bodies of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are still present and just as before, the Carpenter creeps up behind her preparing to attack. He vows to kill her this time around but Calie fights back and impales him with her sword.

Back in the real world Charles Dodgson, the man who plays grandfather to Calie and Johnny but is in fact their great grandfather, is watching as the Queen of Hearts lures innocent children into a fun house at a local carnival. It appears he is having regrets on the deal he made with Wonderland two centuries ago (sacrificing souls in exchange for immortality) and the Cheshire Cat senses his confliction.

Meanwhile, Calie is making her way through the woods unaware that she is being watched by the cloaked creature previously seen in the graveyard.  She comes across numerous signs with humorous and useless information. She threatens to chop all of the trees down if they don’t provide her with the directions she needs and the signs suddenly change and point to the same direction. Just then, she is ambushed by the creature, thus ending issue 1.

The first few pages of this issue blew me away; it was exciting to dive right into the story without any hesitation. Calie has really evolved since her debut in Return to Wonderland where she was a frightened lost girl fighting for a way out of the realm of madness. In Beyond she was running from her troubles and trying to forget all that she experienced not only in Wonderland, but in the real world as well (the suicide of her mother, murder of her father and trapping her brother on the other side of the looking glass). Calie is stronger now and instead of hiding from her troubles, she has decided to confront them and do whatever it takes to get her daughter back.

It’s interesting to see the Charles Dodgson character expressing remorse for all of the horrific things he has done for his own selfish desires. It makes me wonder if his conscious will win and perhaps in the end he will end up being a hero. The kidnapping of baby Violet clearly has a deeper meaning than simply another sacrifice to Wonderland and I am intrigued to see where that story leads and what the Jabberwocky has planned.

I love that Zenescope has kept the same creative team with the Wonderland series (not including the One Shots and Annual). I highly enjoy writer Raven Gregory’s work; his combination of drama and horror keep me lost in the story and this dark twisted version of Wonderland is something I feel, is long overdue. I also enjoy artist Dan Leister illustrations (with colors by Nei Ruffino and Blond).

I’ve been a fan of the Wonderland series from the very beginning and I hope none of our readers think I am being biased when it comes to reviewing Zenescope titles because I am their January Girl of the Month. Trust me when I say that I have been following the company almost since the very beginning; I am a true fan and have always been even before I was a cosplayer. They have done many things that I have liked and many things I don’t like. The Wonderland series is one of the things I have always loved (especially being a fan of the original Lewis Carroll books) and I think Escape from Wonderland #1 is very satisfying for its fans. Although it’s bittersweet that this is the last chapter, it’s also very exciting and off to a great start.

I give this issue four and a half out of five stars.

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The Author

Victoria

Victoria

In 2006 Victoria began the hobby of cosplay which quickly turned into a passion. Her other hobbies include collecting comics, dolls and writing poems and short stories. Victoria loves reporting on the world of comic books almost as much as she enjoys eating a slice of pizza and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Favorite writers: Geoff Johns
Favorite artist: Billy Tan, Jim Lee, Ian Churchill, Billy Tucci and the late Michael Turner

If you want to see more of Victoria in her cosplay gear, head over to cosplaygirl.webs.com

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7 Comments

  1. August 5, 2009 at 10:44 am — Reply

    I never had enough extra cash to check out any Zenescope stuff. It seems after I get everything I want from DC, Vertigo, Wildstorm, Marvel, Dynamite, BOOM, and Bongo, I don’t have too much cash left. If I ever get the chance to check them out, I don’t see why Wonderland wouldn’t be the first series from Zenescope I’d check out though. I like shit that’s tripped out, not as much as I did a decade ago, but I still do.

    Oh, and Victoria, next time you are single and dating, please let me know ASAP. You can dress up however you want over here. I’m into all that kinky stuff!

  2. Brian
    August 5, 2009 at 10:59 am — Reply

    ^ Hey there buddy … she’s taken (and don’t think that i’ll ever be letting her go).

    As for the review … i stopped reading it after Johnny at Jabberwok’s lair part because i don’t want it spoiled for me yet. (but i read the ending summary)

    I’ll back up everything Victoria says about the consistancy and story quality of this series. True they switched up artists for the One Shots (Tales from Wonderland) but everything still stays intact. I have only read the first few pages through the previews but so far I’m madly in love with this trilogy. I’m really going to be upset when it’s done. Hopefully the same team will tackle OZ when it’s turn comes (after Neverland).

  3. mosdef
    August 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    lol@brian. ah thats hilarious. way to hit on a chick robbie!!!

  4. Brian
    August 5, 2009 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    ??? What’s hilarious?

  5. mosdef
    August 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm — Reply

    that he hit on your woman. i have an odd sense of humor

  6. Navarre
    August 5, 2009 at 4:36 pm — Reply

    Why do I get the feeling Victoria will one day unintentionally be the cause for the first Major Spoilers Cage Match?

    The series seems interesting and clearly has received high marks. I may have to check it out.

    I hear Tim Burton is doing an Alice in Wonderland version with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Depp seems to be Burton’s favorite for his works.

    I also hear there is also a very popular fanfic where the Twilight characters are somehow inserted into an “Alice” story. Odd that Twilight already has a character named Alice. But, hey, I don’t care ’cause Twilight makes me ill.

    It is a telling commentary on Lewis Carroll’s work though that, after all well more than a century, Alice in Wonderland still finds so many variations and such notoriety for itself. If imitation (or adaptation, maybe) is the sincerest form of flattery, then Carroll would feel quite flattered.

  7. August 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm — Reply

    Wow — that first image made me scramble in search of this old post: http://odditycollector.livejournal.com/97166.html

    Cheesecake needs beefcake…. ;)

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