REVIEW: Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Wonderland #2

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Calie and Violet Liddle have been found by Wonderland and it’s denizens, ebbing away all hope of having a normal life. Fighting insanity and each other, can this mother and daughter team ever find a safe place to call home? More after the jump.

GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS WONDERLAND #2
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artist: Sheldon Coh
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Colorist: Felipe Caona
Editor: Matt Rogers & Hannah Corfinkel
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment, Inc.
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Wonderland: Calie and Violet Liddle have been traveling far and long to start a new life after the traumatic events that took place in Wonderland. Now, they’ve finally found a place to call home and settle in. Unfortunately, Calie is still plagued by nightmares, all of them threatening to take her daughter Violet back to Wonderland. We also meet Sammy Daniels and his own spiral into madness, potentially taking up the mantle of the new Mad Hatter.

MOMMY DEAREST

This book opens with the introduction of a new character, Sheriff Sands. Upon arriving and seeing the carnage inside Sammy Daniels’ home, the Sheriff is infected with a sort of insanity plague and joins Sammy on a march of carnage. Meanwhile, things grow tense at the Liddle house between mother and daughter. Violet is finally allowed to go to public school, have friends and just generally get to be a normal teenage girl providing she calls her mother every hour on the hour. When she fails to do so, the two clash, Calie worried about Violet’s safety and Violet angry about Calie’s figurative smothering.

What is most interesting about this book is the dynamic between Calie and Violet. It is very organic and believable, given the circumstances. Raven Gregory has managed to develop Calie into a very realistic character, overprotective to the point of psychotic, the kind of person one would expect Calie to turn into after all that happened to her in the previous Wonderland series. While her fears are realistic, she seems to not notice that she’s succumbing to the same insanity that afflicted her mother previously. It’s something that Violet has always picked up on but now is starting to fight given her new found independence to do things like go to school, hang out with her friends and have a boyfriend. The fight between the two is inevitable and when it happens, it doesn’t feel forced or contrived. It feels very natural and helps the flow of the plot.

The Liddle family dynamics aren’t all that helps make this an interesting read. The creepiness factor is still very much alive. Sammy’s assuming the position of the Mad Hatter, or at least taking orders from him, makes the skin crawl. This is a very different Mad Hatter from the previous series. As mentioned before, there is a kind of insanity plague that starts infecting townsfolk. Amassing an army, this is a curveball being thrown that the Liddles haven’t faced before. Surprisingly, there’s very little gore for a Grimm Wonderland book. Gregory has managed to up the creepiness factor on pure dialogue and the eerie smiles on people’s faces alone.

EVERYONE IS SO POINTY

It is very obvious that the series has had an artist change. While it’s not terrible, it’s a definite step backwards from the previous issue. It feels almost like a throwback to the very first books in the Return to Wonderland series. While that’s fine for some people who may be nostalgic for the old style, it’s a bit of a rude awakening when going from issue one immediately to issue two.

Sheldon Coh’s art is very stylized. The penciling is extremely prominent and, while it’s easy to transition from one panel to the next, it causes the visual flow to be somewhat clunky. In addition, everything looks extremely pointy which makes everything look asymmetrical and slightly off-scale. This would be an interesting choice if Coh was trying to show the difference between the world of Wonderland and the real world, but it’s about the same for both.

There also seems to be an unintentional disconnect between Coh and colorist Felipe Caona. Caona’s watercolor style isn’t strong enough to beat out or work with Coh’s penciling and makes it look a little sloppy. It is most obvious in a spread that takes place in Wonderland. The Queen of Spades revels over the new army she’s creating with the White Knight at her side. It’s hard to be impressed by the only spread in the book because the characters’ faces are drawn so poorly with the coloring struggling to keep up.

BOTTOM LINE: Eerie, Creepy Plot, but Pointy, Pencily Art

This is a solid new addition to the Grimm Wonderland mythos and more of a character development book than something action packed. That in no way takes away from the story. Raven Gregory delivering what’s looking to be a fun and once again morbid story in the Wonderland series. The art needs some work and hopefully will start jiving together by next issue. If you’re a fan of the Grimm Wonderland series, go ahead and pick this one up.

Rating: ★★★½☆