Beyond Wonderland #3 (Zenescope – Gregory / Leister / Ruffino)
Calie feels more alone than ever. With Brandon gone and her best friend dead, Calie knows something is out there watching and waiting. But when she gets a visit from an unexpected ally, will it be enough to warn her before all hell breaks loose?
Raven Gregory never ceases to amaze me, as soon as I think a story is getting “fluffy”, he’ll throw a maniacal curve ball in and makes me flinch. In the same way, as soon as I think a plot is getting so dark it’s beyond redemption, Gregory gives us a light of hope.
This issue opens with Calie and her brother Johnny talking in a dream-time sequence. This allows both Calie and the readers to understand his purpose. Johnny is out for revenge, Calie chose him for this generation’s sacrifice to Wonderland and he is more than unhappy about it. In a flash, Johnny and Calie are changed into their Wonderland alter-ego costumes; Johnny into the Mad Hatter, so new readers can make the connection that this is very personal for him and Calie into her her goth-wonderland outfit for… well, for eye candy.
The Hatter seems to be Wonderland’s general in it’s campaign to invade the “real world”. Between him and the Cheshire Cat, Manhattan does stand a chance. By almost the end of this third issue you can’t help but feel beyond scared and beyond hope for Calie… her parents dead, her boyfriend dead, anyone who comes close to her and tries to help dead. Throw in there that there is a history of mental illness and that she is pregnant and you have a story that almost borderlines “not fun”-land because of how much doom and gloom she carries on her shoulders. And the story gives enough detail ambiguity so that the reader is unsure whether or not this is real, or if this is all in her head. Reality or not, the end of the issue brings Calie an ally in the form of her grandfather.
Raven Gregory takes us for a ride and know exactly where to put the turns! And as I’ve said all the way along, the art is in this series is so fantastic! Great inkwork frames beautiful panels that can capture fear, gore, beauty and “sexy” all at the same time. For anyone not totally turned off by a frightful fairy tale, this book will have you captured!
Issue Grade: A