Wonderland #1 (SLG Publishing)

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This is a wonderful first issue for a book that has the potential to appeal to readers of all ages, with a cute storyline based on well-known characters for the kiddies and stunning artwork for the grown-ups to drool over.

(SLG Publishing; 24 pgs FC; $3.50)

(W: Tommy Kovac, A: Sonny Liew)

In the minds of many, the name Disney is synonymous with crass commercialism and exploitation of their properties. Apparently the company believes that "…and they lived happily ever after" isn’t the ending audiences are looking for, releasing countless inferior, unnecessary straight-to-video sequels to their theatrical movies. Saturday Night Live’s Robert Smigel brilliantly lampooned this trend in a recent episode—the one Lindsay Lohan hosted; don’t lie, we know you watched it—in a skit that packed in such pandering sequels as Sleeping Beauty 3: Lil' Sleepy Meets Aladdin and Lion King 5 2/3: Simba Sits In For Meredith. With that in mind, the concept for SLG’s new comic Wonderland sounds truly frightening: what happened in Wonderland after Alice left? Unlike some of Disney’s more mediocre animated endeavors, however, this sequel is one worth checking out.

Wonderland introduces us to Mary Ann, the only other normal human in Wonderland. A precocious neat freak, the young maid is off to visit the White Rabbit, who the Queen of Hearts has been convinced by Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum is responsible for the whole Alice debacle. Faster than you can say "Off with their heads," Mary Ann is caught in the middle of the revenge-obsessed Queen and the innocent Rabbit.

Rather than re-treading Disney’s movie for this sequel, writer Tommy Kovac uses it as a springboard for an all-new adventure. The dialogue is engaging, and the story moves at a brisk pace—so briskly, in fact, that some readers might balk at paying $3.50 for such a short story. Their loss, as visually, this book is a killer. Sonny Liew knocks it out of the park with a style that is cartoony yet quirky, more Sam Kieth than Uncle Walt. Oddly, it appears the pages were colored straight from pencils. This robs the art of a certain slickness, but on a book like this it works flawlessly, keeping things loose without looking sketchy, and the painterly colors top things off beautifully.

This is a wonderful first issue for a book that has the potential to appeal to readers of all ages, with a cute storyline based on well-known characters for the kiddies and stunning artwork for the grown-ups to drool over. The only complaint some may have is with the rather slight amount of plot for the price. Whether you wait for the trade to get more bang for your buck or hop on board right now, be sure to take a trip to Wonderland. You’ll be glad you did.

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