Calie travels through the looking glass one last time on a desperate mission to rescue her daughter.
If you donâ€™t know anything about Zenescopeâ€™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 donâ€™t necessarily have to read the first two chapters to enjoy Escape but it will add to your reading pleasure. If youâ€™re new to the series, this is pretty much all you need to know: Aliceâ€™s daughter Calie has traveled back to Wonderland to save her baby girl Violet, who was kidnapped by the Mad Hatter (Calieâ€™s brother, Johnny).
Issue one opens with a scene in Wonderlandâ€™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 Queenâ€™s castle, Calie emerges from a lake fully equipped with weapons. Now that sheâ€™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 itâ€™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 Jabberwockyâ€™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 Jabberwockyâ€™s plans can now begin now that the baby has been delivered to him.
Calie finds herself at the Carpenterâ€™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.Â She comes across numerous signs with humorous and useless information. She threatens to chop all of the trees down if they donâ€™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.
Itâ€™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 Gregoryâ€™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).
Iâ€™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 donâ€™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 itâ€™s bittersweet that this is the last chapter, itâ€™s also very exciting and off to a great start.
I give this issue four and a half out of five stars.