Review: Zenescope’s Wonderland #1

So last week I just happened to see Zenescope post on their blog that Wonderland #1 is their best selling comic in the company’s 7 year history. Not only that, Lionsgate Studios has recently acquired the rights to adapt Wonderland as a television series. Honestly, I would have never picked up this comic on my own. After all, the ridiculous over the top sexiness of the characters would lead me to believe that this was written 100% for men. But after reading the news that this is being developed for TV, I decided to pick it up. After all, I like horror and I like Alice in Wonderland, so it would naturally seem that I would like this series… and I did. Surprised? I was, too!

Let me start by saying that I have not read any of Zenescope’s previous Wonderland series, so I am reviewing this with no prior knowledge of the story or the characters. Wonderland has several stories going on. First we have the main character, Callie, who is Alice’s daughter. Callie has taken her daughter, Violet, with whom she has recently reunited with, on the run. What is she running from? Well, we don’t really know, but it clearly has something to do with Wonderland, as she keeps hallucinating (or maybe not hallucinating) that random people are The Mad Hatter. She also seems to have some major issues with mirrors, breaking all of the mirrors in her house and making reference to getting pulled into them. Apparently in this version of Wonderland you don’t fall down the rabbit hole – you get sucked in through mirrors. It’s not the most creative story (The Shining, Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist – I can go on and on) but it works.

The second story line is about a kid named Sammy. Sammy has an abusive father and a crackpot mother who sits idley by as he gets beaten. Basically, he’s weak. He takes the abuse and then cries in the bathroom, never fighting back. That is until one day when Sammy hears a voice – coming from the mirror. The Sammy on the other side of the mirror gives the good Sammy a Mad Hatter-style hat and all of a sudden he has the courage to fight back. A possession by hat, I suppose. That’s really all we get of Sammy’s story so far. At this point we really don’t know what his role is in the world of Wonderland or in relation to Callie.

The final story is that of the Evil Queen and her plans to rule Wonderland. We don’t get to see too much of the Queen in this issue, but we see enough to know that she is bad news and rules the throne in lingerie. She has just been given the news that the Jabberwocky has been killed and she can now move forward with her evil plans. I love the variations in the speech bubbles between the two worlds – the Queen’s bubbles are black and anchored by spades.

Overall, the story is strong, interesting and a really cool take on Alice in Wonderland. In fact, I actually enjoyed this issue so much that I may just add it to my pull list. My only issue with the series is – yep, the boobs! I know this is Zenescope’s schtick… all of their comics feature scantily clad women with pouty lips, and giants asses, but come on! Some of them are just laughable, such as this variant. I mean how can I take this seriously?!

The fact is very few women are going to pick these comics up if they are just browsing their local shop. Looking at the cover and the cover alone, I would have thought this was junk and never given it a chance. If they would just take the boobage factor down a notch, I think more women would give Wonderland (and other Zenescope comics) a try because the stories are surprisingly good.