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This is a good starting point for new readers and old readers alike with an interesting storyline. There are some interesting and downright boring moments and characters and artwork balancing a thin line between mediocre and great.
Calie Liddle, the daughter of Alice – yes, the same Alice from “Alice in Wonderland” – has stopped the habitants of Wonderland from leaving their world and taking over hers. But now, Calie is seventeen years older and mentally unstable with a teenage daughter. After seventeen years of silence the Cheshire Cat has finally escaped to take his revenge on Calie, starting with her daughter.
The story is more enjoyable for followers of the series but can be understood well enough by newcomers to the series so they are not confused. Writer Raven Gregory has created a wonderful tale where we see Calie still dealing with the aftermath of the events from Escaped From Wonderland and dealing with her teenaged daughter. Calie is an interesting character who has constantly bickering monologues going on in her head that are mostly entertaining with one voice in her head saying she should commit suicide and the other telling her everything’s just peachy – even though it’s not. Sometimes this technique was too overused, but did not overstay it’s welcome for too long. Calie’s daughter Violet is another story. Her dialogue in the beginning of the comic was atrocious and her character only became bearable when she wasn’t talking. Her attitude just doesn’t seem like the regular teenage girls’ and seems more like what Raven thinks it is. It comes off rather corny, with Violet saying lines like “Roger that, Mama Bear. Now get with the moving of the body faster thingy.” These corny lines ruined Violet’s likeability and depth right away. But more focus is put into the Cheshire Cat, who is a deadly enemy with a back story only lightly scratched upon in this issue. He was an interesting adversary that felt threatening and filled his role of antagonist quite well.
The artwork from Tommy Patterson is a little disappointing. After beautiful women loitering the covers of many Zenescope covers and violence galore not much of that is seen in this issue, and what replaces it is far from stellar. The characters are just average, with not much creativity in their design. The Cheshire Cat has a slightly creepy look to him but needed a voice to go the extra mile of scary. Also, when he goes to the school and starts needlessly killing every single person there, (which not only did not make sense but was a shameless excuse to use more blood) he is never really given a panel to show the violence he is giving out, only glimpses of dead bodies on the floor with little to no detail and splashes of blood slapped over them. The colors help make the art a little better. Calie, the average character design she is, has some beautiful if not too subtle make-up that makes her stand out.
This issue is a great introduction into the Dream Eater Saga, playing out as a one-shot but still having a large impact on the Wonderland universe that will be a must-read for fans of the series. The things you expect from Zenescope are missing for the most part, which is a bit of a disappointment here unlike the surprising success Tales From Neverland had from taking out these elements. The characters are a mixture of the teenager with some of the weirdest dialogue ever written in a speech bubble and an interesting look at Calie’s psyche. The art needs work, but the storyline is enough to make this part of the "Dream Eater Saga" feel fresh and very satisfying.
Overall Score – 7.5/10
*A solid book overall, might not be for everyone but does have a fan base and they will definitely enjoy.*