Okay, this is my preconception about Tales Of Wonderland: Red Queen and Escape From Wonderland #0, based on not reading the comic, but seeing covers from the long running series, and the occasional review. It’s an excuse to take classic children’s literature and mix it with good girl/bad girl art for people to get some softcore/iconic imagery jollies – and nothing else.
And you know, that is most definitely a part of it. A large part. So why did I get something that reminded me of… well, Sandman meets The Boys.
I mean the language in Red Queen is a lot clunkier, and there does seem to be scenes set up for the purpose of showing dismemberment when naked in gruesome and pervy ways. But then there are scenes in which the Red Queen takes a red chess knight piece and transforms it into a very red and bleeding skinless horse. The main character’s nudity becomes a matter-of-fact aspect of who they are, and being covered in blood, I don’t know how, but it steps back across the line from being totally gratuitous and stupid and, instead, becomes a part of the character, intense, unnerving and justified. It feels reminiscent of A Game Of You and totally challenged my preconceptions of this title. And with a Steve Dillon-style artist, a clear, easy to follow art styles that swaps glitz for the ease and grace of storytelling.
And Escape From Wonderland #0 felt like I was rereading a Jim Lee-style pumped up version of A Doll’s House. Which is a lot better than it sounds, and reminiscent of IDW’s Locke & Key, specifically one flashback storytelling trick, having the character walk through faded panels from previous issues as they walk around an old house. As absolutely stellar tricks which I have seen rarely and rarely seen as well as it’s used here.
I thought it would be easy and lazy, but it’s none of things. It’s not quite a classic based on this limited reading and I’m not saying these books are everyone’s cup of tea. But on this basis, I’m, going to forget my preconceptions, pick up a few more issues and find the trade paperbacks. Hell, I managed to make myself watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer before the end of the first season didn’t I? And that worked out.
Certainly if you’re buying Fables right now but you wish it was a bit more like Preacher there’s no excuse not to pick this book up as well.
Tales Of Wonderland: Red Queen by Raven Gregory and Rich Bonk and Escape From Wonderland #0 by Raven Gregory and Daniel Leister are published by Zenescope this week.
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