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Although Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are some of the most famous characters in Lewis Carroll’s  “Through the Looking Glass” (they never actually appeared in the original “Alice in Wonderland” and debuted in the books sequel), they have yet to play an essential role in Zenescope’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 Dinner’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.


tweedleCOVER.jpgThe issue opens with the Carpenter beating the twins to death as they beg for mercy. We are then taken to the “real world” 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, David’s pride turns into jealousy. He begins hearing that “little voice” inside his head; two in fact. One is the voice of reason while the other is the voice of hatred.  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 doesn’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).  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 “how to be a man”. The voices inside his head begin to argue about the events that took place afterwards. David’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 “I beat you because I love you” speech. The voice inside his head plots to get rid of Tony by using the mirror in the Liddle’s basement.  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 David’s head begin to argue once more as Tony complains of a headache (which is probably due to his beating the night before).. He doesn’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.  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 Dinner’s restaurant and head inside where they find a table filled with food.  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 David’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 “The Arrangement” 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 David’s abusive background gave us a better understanding on his character and why he turned out the way he did. It’s disheartening that he was rescued from his abusive father yet still chose to follow in his foot steps. Instead of learning from his father’s mistakes and becoming a better person, he used his childhood as an excuse to lash out at his son.  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 reader’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 Tony’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 David’s father certainly had that Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker appeal but I can’t help but wonder if that was a last minute decision. Wonderland alters each person’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). David’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 Liddle’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.

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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. Navarre
    October 5, 2009 at 10:51 am — Reply

    The Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum revelation was interesting. Good review.

    Alice’s costume from this cover looks like the kind of costume I’d imagine you’d like. Ever cosplay as Alice?

  2. Brian
    October 5, 2009 at 11:54 am — Reply

    In all honesty this is my second least favorite issue besides the Alice one shot. I get all the twists and turns the issue took and flat out didn’t like them. I felt like there were many things that could have been cooler/deeper but seems to have taken the mellow way out. The Carpenter was one of them. I always figured the carpenter to be one of the first few into wonderland … maybe an architech or janitor who was working on repairing the asylum that the Red Queen was in and fell through the mirror.

    I really didn’t care at all for the family who this story is about. They seemed so random.

    The split personality could have been better if it were at least half of a person we gave a damn about. I 100% hated the David character both in and out of Wonderland. (besides his character design makes him look like Clown from Spawn).

    I totally agree that the time line seems really messed up. I guess wonderland could flow on it’s own time (being faster or slower than ours) but we haven’t seen anything to suggest this and i’m just coming up with excuses for how this “could” happen.

    I’ll get this issue when it’s collected with the rest personally.

  3. October 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    @Navarre: probably not since everyone and their dog has cosplayed Alice at one point or another. It just seems tired to me :P

    • Navarre
      October 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm — Reply

      I’m sure you’re right. I haven’t been around any cosplayers but it seems like a character that would be imitated a lot.

      You could always do the Chesire Cat instead but I bet your face would hurt after a while from all that smiling. :-D

  4. October 7, 2009 at 2:06 am — Reply

    Yeah, time moves differently in wonderland than it does in the real world. It didn’t come across as intended but the father and the son visit the home when Alice first went into the hosptial in RTW #0 after committing suicide. Or at least that “when” I believe it happened. But it didn’t occur near the time when Calie went into wonderland if that helps. But yeah, it could have been clearer.

  5. October 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm — Reply

    @ Raven Gregory: Thanks so much for clearing that up, Raven! :)

  6. Mia
    November 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm — Reply

    It’s kinda the opposite of the Queen of Hearts’ story, I mean the transformation that occurs inside Wonderland

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