Although Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are some of the most famous characters in Lewis Carrollâ€™sÂ â€œThrough the Looking Glassâ€ (they never actually appeared in the original â€œAlice in Wonderlandâ€ and debuted in the books sequel), they have yet to play an essential role in Zenescopeâ€™s adaptation. They made a brief appearance way back in issue #2 of Return to Wonderland when Calie stumbled upon their bloody bodies (along with the Walrus) at the Fish Dinnerâ€™s restaurant. They were apparently murdered by the Carpenter but we never discovered the reasons why or the identity of the two men until now.
The issue opens with the Carpenter beating the twins to death as they beg for mercy. We are then taken to the â€œreal worldâ€ were Charles Dodgson is watching a baseball game with is friend David, whose son (Tony) is the star player. As they witness Tony celebrate another victory, Davidâ€™s pride turns into jealousy. He begins hearing that â€œlittle voiceâ€ inside his head; two in fact. One is the voice of reason while the other is the voice of hatred.Â As they drive home after the game, Tony informs his father that Charles requested their help in moving some items from the Liddle house while the family is on vacation. David doesnâ€™t answer his son and instead lectures him about his behavior at the game. When they arrive at home, David proceeds to beat him.
David gazes at a bleeding Tony as he lies at his feet and his thoughts shift to his father (who was also physically abusive). On Halloween many years earlier, a young David dressed as a clown at the suggestion of Charles Dodgson (which enraged his father).Â He drags a young David off to confront Mr. Dodgson and David now remembers the incident with pride. He holds a new found respect and admiration for his father for teaching him â€œhow to be a manâ€. The voices inside his head begin to argue about the events that took place afterwards. Davidâ€™s father disappeared and he has tried to forget what happened between Charles and his father but with no success. He remembers that Charles pushed his father through the looking glass.
Coming back to reality, David embraces his son and gives him the â€œI beat you because I love youâ€ speech. The voice inside his head plots to get rid of Tony by using the mirror in the Liddleâ€™s basement.Â The following morning, David and Tony arrive at the Liddle house and they immediately go to the basement to move the mirror. The voices inside Davidâ€™s head begin to argue once more as Tony complains of a headache (which is probably due to his beating the night before).. He doesnâ€™t lift the mirror in time when his father instructs him to which causes it to fall on his foot. An angry David begins cursing and hits his son and he fails to notice that the mirror has been activated. Tony fights back and pushes his father towards the mirror, trapping him in the other dimension. Charles appears and explains that David will not be returning and hopes that Tony will make better choices in his life than his father did.
Trapped in Wonderland, David pounds on the looking glass until it breaks then buckles over in pain. Suddenly, his insides tear apart and another person emerges. David has been split into two people and has become Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.Â Not understanding what just took place, his other half promises to look after him and the two head down the beach in search of something to eat. They come across the Fish Dinnerâ€™s restaurant and head inside where they find a table filled with food.Â They decide to eat quickly before anyone returns and one of the twins goes to investigate a noise coming from the nearby refrigerator. The Walrus is tied up and trapped inside. When he is released he tells them that they have to escape before the Carpenter returns. It appears to be too late however and the Carpenter bashes one the twins head in before dragging the Walrus off and cuts him open while he is still alive. The remaining twin comes to the startling revelation that the Carpenter is in fact Davidâ€™s father. After successfully killing all three characters, the issue closes with Calie arriving at the restaurant. This issue also features chapter 3 of the bonus story â€œThe Arrangementâ€ which follows the times and trials of Charles Dodgson.
Naturally the reader would assume that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are two separate characters. Your first thought may be that they are brothers or are related in some other way by blood, marriage or perhaps even friends. Making them the same person (who exhibited signs of a split personality) was a delightful unexpected twist. Revealing Davidâ€™s abusive background gave us a better understanding on his character and why he turned out the way he did. Itâ€™s disheartening that he was rescued from his abusive father yet still chose to follow in his foot steps. Instead of learning from his fatherâ€™s mistakes and becoming a better person, he used his childhood as an excuse to lash out at his son.Â His misplaced anger got him a one way ticket to the realm of madness.
It appears that writers Raven Gregory and Joe Brusha are trying to create a soft spot in the readerâ€™s hearts for Charles Dodgson. In Escape from Wonderland #1 the Cheshire Cat sensed that he was having second thoughts about feeding Wonderland more souls. In this issue we see that he came to David and Tonyâ€™s rescue by banishing their abusive fathers to Wonderland. This is something that I am personally not feeling. We have witnessed many of Charles sins including tricking Alice to go down the rabbit hole and informing Calie that she had to go back to Wonderland after she escaped (and her mother committed suicide). Perhaps this is a set up and Charles will end up being the hero in the end.
The discovery that the Carpenter was Davidâ€™s father certainly had that Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker appeal but I canâ€™t help but wonder if that was a last minute decision. Wonderland alters each personâ€™s appearance that passes through the looking glass or travels through the rabbit hole. While the changes can sometimes be drastic, you can still tell who the person is or was (with the exception of the first Mad Hatter who was living in Wonderland for years and aged). Davidâ€™s father looked entirely different as the Carpenter. Over weight with balding blond hair in the real world, he was athletic and red haired in Wonderland.
The time line between the events of this book and issue 1 and 2 of Return to Wonderland seems a little off. While it was great to see what took place before Calie arrived at the restaurant and a treat to see the issue close with her arrival, I am left wondering where the Liddle family was when David and Tony arrived at the house. At that point, Calie was all ready in Wonderland and her father, mother and brother were home (as seen in issue #2 and #3 of Return to Wonderland). Where were the Liddleâ€™s when Tony and David arrived?
This story was overall very intriguing and in my opinion is one of the better issues to come out of the Tales from Wonderland series. Despite a few bumps that can be best described as plot holes, the writing is strong and engaging. Wonderland never disappoints when it comes to gore and horror and I often find a chill traveling down my spin as I read it. The art is beautifully done courtesy of Axel Medellin and Salvador Navarro with colors by Dustin Yee.
I give Tales from Wonderland: Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, four out of five stars.