I am starting with fairy tales, even though I am fully aware that “Alice in Wonderland” is in fact a novel. So, fairy tales charm with their innocent magic, naïve and friendly demeanor and though with droplets of sadness and fear are generally the indestructible pink sun glasses that make the world so much better. Who can forget Snow white, the Ugly Duckling, Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast and all those happy endings….
After a while though when the modern generation of horror movies, vampire clans and gothic devotion grew up to drinking age or even before that realized that the Grimm Fairy Tales were in fact the first horror stories [trust me in Cinderella there is much mutilation going on and I read it in German] and so we have seen Snow white dying after a dose of apple heroin and Little Red Riding Hood slaughter people with a chainsaw and Alice in Wonderland get down with a butcher knife in a video game [at least I have seen]. But the comic book industry couldn’t keep their hands to themselves and Alice had to be desecrated again.
Zenescope’s 6 issue mini-series “Return to Wonderland”, the ongoing sequel “Beyond Wonderland” and the three one shots “Tales from Wonderland” take the innocent, magical and illogical Wonderland with its cast and harvests its twisted potential. Alice Liddle, the original Alice, is a grown woman, married with children, but suffers mentally from her trip to Wonderland and attempts suicide after Wonderland attempts to claim her back. After her death Wonderland sets its eyes on her children Calie and her brother, who becomes the second Mad Hatter. With a black stripper version of the classic blue dress Alice spurted, Calie sets out on a survival mission in a Wonderland, which is simply another word for Limbo aka Hell.
Everything you held dear has been twisted… The white rabbit is a zombie. The Cheshire Cat is a lycanthropic monster. The Catterpillar strikes like a distant cousin of the Alien and the Mad Hatter is quite mad. Only the Queen of Hearts is more like herself. She wants heads to keep rolling, but is not afraid to do it herself. Calie, who is Alice version 2.0, looks like a wet dream material and can if needed revert to violence. The plot is simplistic to keep true to the survival horror atmosphere. Calie has to deal with being chased by monsters in the real world and in Wonderland, deal with the guilt of sending her brother through the mirror to limbo and try and keep her sanity.
What I found most interesting however was the total psycho-murderous horror make over in the exterior and the mechanics behind Wonderland and its inhabitants. Writer Raven Gregory is one sick puppy and I love him for his work on the series, which is gaining popularity among its targeted audience. Art tandem Daniel Leister [illustrator] and Nei Ruffino [colorist] create high class crystal clear vision, aesthetical gore and a sultry underlining eroticism, which is quite noticeable though not profane or tasteless. All in all what horror should feel like. I suggest people that like their stories dark and bloody get it now.