Review: Wonderland #39
In the publication history of Wonderland there have been more or less only two general outlooks for the series. The first dealt with the Liddle family, and specifically Calie, trying to battle against the maddening influence of the horror dimension. This led her into conflict with the various rulers of Wonderland – the Jabberwocky, the Queen of Hearts, the Queen of Spades – each of whom she destroyed, until she eventually became the White Queen of Wonderland, which changed the outlook for the first time in her stories. In these stories she was recast as a force trying to clean up Wonderland from the myriad of insanities which plague it. For her character, this has been a natural evolution, and a clever one under the hand of Erica J. Heflin, but there was a difference between her new and the old. While she still dealt with problems on Earth from time to time, her main focus became Wonderland, and the series changed from that of a psychological horror, to something more like a fantastical one.
Issue #39 of this series represents the first time that the two different outlooks are presented in the same issue. The story is told in a bit of a non sequitur to what has been playing out in recent issues, though this is also briefly touched upon. Instead a mysterious person is stalking Calie, someone from both her past and her mother’s. This touches on the earliest moments in this series and touches more so on the madness that used to play out in these stories. It is revealed that this man used to be the butcher in the neighborhood where the Liddles lived, although he harbored a secret love for Alice which led him to the dark dimension.
While there is a decent setup for this new nemesis in Calie’s life, his introduction is also somewhat of an x factor. He is built up well here, but his place in the overall story is a mystery as there is essentially no context for his appearance. The same general level of performance is here for the series as Heflin manages another engaging story, but it remains to be seen exactly how this fits into the bigger picture, as it is still somewhat undefined. At the very least it proves that she has an understanding of what made the series so popular to begin with and can channel that same concept into her own version of the series. The only issue is that it is somewhat non sequitur, it will likely be incorporated into the story line in a meaningful way in the coming issues, but for the moment it is an outlier in terms of its placement in the series, and so while engaging it takes a way a bit from the overall narrative of the series.
Story: Erica J. Heflin Art: Marc Rosete
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy