My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I take it that most of you know what curiosity killed – which was pretty much my rationale for picking up Zenescope’s latest offering in the adult comic Grimm’s Fairy Tale series with “Alice in Wonderland.”
I took it that this was a followup story to some of Zenescope’s other series including “Return to Wonderland” and “Tales from Wonderland.” It was my first read from that extension of the series, and I’m torn as to what to feel about it. I didn’t mind the dark root of the story, and the violence I could swallow because if you’ve read any of the series by Zenescope in this vein – you can expect the tales to be dark, violent, and have some kind of twisted moral through the story intended for an adult audience. There’s a fair degree of objectification that I personally didn’t care for, but I was a little more forgiving just for the measure that the story caught my attention, as well as the consistency in the characters.
But here? I’m not sure what happened. I’ll admit I was rather bored and rolling my eyes through much of this narrative. A story of Alice’s terror as she was trapped in Wonderland? Not really, considering Alice was pretty much a bubblebrain throughout her experiences. Let me recap the basic plot of the story and go from there.
Alice is a young girl when she’s sent in the rabbit hole, and gets trapped in Wonderland. Desperate to go home, she makes a deal with the Jabberwock, who agrees to show her the way out of Wonderland, but he tricks her into making a deal she wasn’t aware. Thus, Alice is imprisoned and grows up to an adult in captivity until she’s freed and escapes into the heart of the craziness that is Wonderland.
Quite many of the major players from Carroll’s tale are here: the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts, etc. All of them particularly sinister. It’s an alternative take on the stories, but it can be hard to follow for those who haven’t read the other entries in Zenescope’s series – it isn’t meant to stand alone, so fair warning for those who are picking it up for the first time. I was able to follow along with the story fine despite some of the gaps, but I found the development in this story fairly lacking for what it offered. For one, Alice was a character that was hard to identify with. She stumbles along from place to place, gets caught/fooled quite easily, and doesn’t really have much defining her even when – as the story unfolds – she decides to step up to the plate and make herself find a way to reach homeward – with some notably heavy costs in tow. I didn’t start fully clicking with the story told until around the time the Queen of Hearts showed up, and by then it was a good way into it. Most of the time before that point, I kept thinking “Pick up story, please pick up – you have an interesting theme you’re working with, but it’s not showing.” Though there were a great deal of other things showing. *coughs*
In all seriousness, I’m for characters growing from a point of weakness into becoming kick-butt and take names in order to get what they aim for, but Alice didn’t really have a natural point of getting to (or through) those stages, not without reference to incidents that weren’t contained in this volume, so there were some significant story holes to be had here. Also, the “fanservice” was particularly apparent in this versus focusing on the story elements, and that disappointed me in comparison to some of my former reads with this particular series.
I don’t know. This is the kind of work that could go either way depending on what you’re looking for. It’s a light read, I thought the illustrations were decent and had good coloring – some panels had much better consistency than others in some of the chapters. Yet I was disappointed because the tale wasn’t nearly as interesting as it could’ve been in spurts, and the element of sacrifice didn’t have nearly as much weight to it as the story purported it to be. Overall, so-so, but not nearly as interesting as some of the fairy tales that were in the earlier Grimm’s series.
Overall score: 2/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Zenescope Entertainment.