Graphic Novels (1): Return to Wonderland & Fables vol. 1

Welcome to my first post reviewing graphic novels! Since my reviews will not be as long as those for novels, I’ve decided to do each graphic novel review in a set of two. There will be no ratings for graphic novels, just my thoughts on the story and artwork.

 

Return to Wonderland
by Raven Gregory, Daniel Leister & Nei Ruffino

Alice is no longer the little girl you once knew. Years have passed since she took her trip down the rabbit hole. Now a grown woman with a family of her own, Alice has everything a person could want, everything except for her sanity…

Calie Liddle was once a normal high school student with a loving family and a great boyfriend. But in the shadows of her picture perfect life something was always watching and waiting. She never knew what it was, but somehow she always knew it was there, and it holds the answers to the questions that have defined her life.

As Alice’s mental health deteriorates, Calie will discover the truth behind her mother’s illness as she is pulled into the same realm Alice traveled to many years before. Now Calie must survive in a world where terror runs rampant, a place where the adventures of Alice were only the beginning, as she discovers the shocking truth behind what Wonderland really is. Will Calie find the strength to escape or will she succumb to the insanity that has already taken so much from her mother?

 

Return to Wonderland was everything I was expecting, and more. The artwork is full of rich details and expressions, and the colours are done wonderfully.

The storyline is a more dark, mature version of the Wonderland story we all know. Calie, Alice’s daughter, finds out about her mother’s adventure to Wonderland, and that it’s made her ‘insane’. Following a rotting white rabbit into Wonderland, Calie finds out that nothing is as it seems, violence is the activity of choice and to always beware the Cheshire Cat. The reason for her family being put through so much heartache is revealed by Calie’s grandfather. In the end, Calie makes a choice she hopes will keep Wonderland from ever pulling her in again.

Return to Wonderland is definitely rated mature. There is no shortage of blood, dismembered body parts, language, drug use and sexual images. If you’re old enough and mature enough to handle it, though, it all combines into one captivating story. Calie’s adventures are continued in Escape from Wonderland and Beyond Wonderland.

 

Fables: Legends in Exile
by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha & Craig Hamilton

Who killed Rose Red?

In Fabletown, where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers, the question is all anyone can talk about. But only the Big Bad Wolf can actually solve the case – and, along with Rose’s sister Snow White, keep the Fabletown community from coming apart at the seams.

 

Fables vol 1 was an intriguing beginning. Fairy tale characters have been chased out of their homelands and now live in modern day New York. The first volume focuses on the Big Bad Wolf trying to solve the case of the missing Rose Red, while setting up some nice background information.

The artwork is done nicely, and the matte colours (rather than glossy pages) remind me of older style comics. There is some violence and language, but I feel comfortable giving it a teen rating. The storyline was very well done, giving me just enough information to drag me in and want to keep reading. I’ll definitely be buying volume 2.

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