Writers: Frank Beddock and Liz Cavalier
Artist: Ben Templesmith
Publisher: Image Comics/Desperado
The Set-Up: Our story concludes with Hatter M following the mysterious folk back to a secluded orphanage to find “Alyss” where children are drained of their imagination to be used as a drug. The orphanage is a home for “lost” girls and the source of their raw material for this drug. In the same fashion as one would expect a major drug operation to be run, so this operation is ran, complete with protection of guard dogs and junkies. In the end, Hatter M was able to shut down the operation and save the imagination power for the good of Western civilization, but the little girl was not Alyss. Where is the real Alyss? The Far East, perhaps… Maybe a tale for another day.
Critique: I really liked it! Beddor was able to build an entire universe separate from that of our reality but then also connected to ours through the looking glass and puddles that are where they shouldn’t be. Hatter Mardigan is a very complex character driven by the same sense of duty as that of any other bodyguard or true warrior. His character is much like that of Wolverine but without the self-indulgence of that Marvel character. Hatter's commitment to Alyss is absolute, and he is selfless in that commitment to protect her and return her to the throne of Neverland. But he also understands that if he helps those in our universe with imagination, he’s also helping Wonderland and thus helping Alyss, regardless if he is ultimately saves Alyss or not.
Again, I didn’t really like Templesmith’s artwork because of its abstract nature, but he does capture the essence of the dark/noir atmosphere of the tale. I think that either a Marc Silvestri or John Romita Jr. or Frank Miller would be a better fit for this storyline, BUT I do want to say that I am in the minority according to an unscientific poll conducted at my local comic book store.
Bravo to Beddor who has been able to craft one of the most interesting and creative universes I’ve seen in a LOOONG time. I can’t wait to see more!
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