Wonderland: Asylum ReviewJuly 1, 2014
I’ve always had a hard time resisting anything to do with the wonderful and wacky world of Wonderland, no matter what the format may be. It is a place that allows those in imagination business to really flex their mental muscles and use Wonderland as their canvas or playground. When I had the opportunity to read and review Wonderland: Asylum I jumped at the chance, curious to see what Pat Shand had pulled out of his hat from his own personal rabbit hole.
I was a little worried about being a lost in terms of story arcs as this starts after Wonderland #19 in the series. However, a bonus for all new and part time readers of this series was that they took a couple of pages to do a quick summary so we wouldn’t all be completely lost.
We get a breakdown of Alice’s history, her daughter Callie and brought right up to the moment of what’s going on with Callie’s daughter Violet. This is a great help and while a few things may be a little foggy, you get the basic idea of what’s going on and don’t need to worry about missing out on a big story line.
One thing this book does well is to combine some horror imagery with a lot of sarcastic, off the cuff and just plain straight away humor. It was interesting to see the writing go in this direction as most Wonderland issues are full of dread and dark imagery only. I applaud those who made this decision as it took some guts and paid off.
This could have simply been another tale of Violet weaving her way through Wonderland but instead she meets up with ‘The Void’ who has a smart mouth, sarcastic and egotistical manner and oh yes, look just like actor James Franco. This in itself was funny and it worked into the story well.
The bulk of the story does focus on Violet and The Void, talking a lot about choices and how things could be made different in Wonderland. There is also some shifting back and forth from different realities but the story is told in such a way that is never becomes too convoluted or confusing.
However, while I did enjoy the story and all of the characters in it, some of the art and coloring left me a bit unfulfilled. I found some pages a bit dull or bland in color and it seemed to take the life out of some of the characters and thus the story. I’m unsure if this was a tactic done on purpose but to me something seemed to be missing.
The same can be said for the penciling, as the ‘humans’ seem to make out much better than the pure alien creatures. Again, maybe done on purpose, maybe not, but it still didn’t mesh right for me, like something was left unfinished.
Still, I would have to say overall it was an above average read, with lots of good story lines and dialogue to keep me interested. While not visually stunning, it was a solid piece of work.