Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wonderland: Asylum by Raven Gregory & Patrick Shand - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Diamond Book Distributors/Zenescope Entertainment on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Wonderland: Asylum
Author: Raven Gregory & Patrick Shand
Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Synopsis: Exiled in the realm of Wonderland, the legacy of the Mad Hatter claimed Johnny Liddle's soul creating one of the greatest villains the world has ever known. But the true horror of what Wonderland is has never been revealed...until now! 

They thought the realm of madness was trapped in Wonderland. They were wrong!

From the creators of the original Wonderland trilogy and Pat Shand (Robin Hood, Unleashed) comes the madness as you have never seen before!


Review: I should really know better when I get comics on NetGalley to make sure that I've actually read the previous volumes. It really makes things make so much more sense. Luckily though, this one wasn't too bad even though I had no prior knowledge, so I was pleasantly surprised! 

Most Alice in Wonderland re-imaginings still deal directly with Alice. Or have characters whose names are very close to "Alice." This comic, on the other hand, introduces Alice's granddaughter, Violet. It was really interesting to see how Wonderland has changed from Alice's adventures there (even though we only get a brief glimpse of them in this volume). Mostly we get to learn about the background of the Mad Hatter and what the character has become over the years. It's actually really different and interesting! 

The cause of the Liddle's pain is The Void. Who, hilariously, decides to take the form of James Franco. I honestly could not take him seriously because all I saw was James Franco and every time he cursed Wonderland I just heard it in James Franco's voice and couldn't help but laugh. He's a really interesting character though, and I'm pretty sure this comic wouldn't have been half as good if he was absent. I like the explanation for how Wonderland came to be and how The Void is worked into the present-day asylum. I was not expecting that, but it was pretty neat. 

Speaking of the Asylum, I thought it was a really interesting and creepy twist on the classic Wonderland characters. It's hard to tell who the characters will become at first, but after they transform I didn't even need to be told who they were. It's pretty obvious, even though they all look completely different from the classic incarnations. My favorite was probably the Cheshire Cat - he's not in the asylum, but he's big and scary and mean and probably what the Cheshire Cat should have looked like all along. 

Even having missed the original Wonderland trilogy that preceded this volume, there's enough information to know most of what's going on. I definitely missed something about Lory Liddle and the Jabberwocky, but I think going back and reading the original trilogy would just lend a deeper understanding to this comic. I would recommend this to fans of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland who are looking for a darker, grittier, sexier retelling. Because, like the other fairy tales this group has done, the girls wear what's basically lingerie the entire time and that's about it. Definitely 18+. Overall not a bad comic, but I wish I understood more of the subtle references. 3/5.


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