Willow: Wonderland

Willow: Wonderland

Willow: Wonderland TPB
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Jeff Parker, Christos Gage
Penciller: Brian Ching
Inker: Jason Gorder
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover: David Mack
Publishing Date: 21 August 2013
Cover Price: $17.99

My love affair with comic books (or graphic novels if you want to be a pretentious dick about it) now spans the better part of two decades.  It has been an on again, off again relationship involving binge reading of omnibuses from the public library or digital collections borrowed from friends (what can I say, I’m poor. Feel free to cast judgement on me, I’ve grown accustom to it), and droughts of reading where other nerd hobbies soaked up my interest.  I can feel when I am on the precipice of another lengthy romp with comics, and it just so happens to coincide with a TPB I was asked to read and review.  Lucky for me (lucky for you?).

The writing here was very classic Buffyverse, a light hearted approach with a few dashes of pop-culture thrown in so as not to be too topical but enough to remind us that the writers are still relevant.  I have been away from the Buffyverse for a few years, and reading this TPB was like visiting old high school friends and you get filled with that nostalgic sensation that no matter how much life changes, some things will always remain the same.  Judging by the title “Wonderland” I was expecting a lot more Lewis Carroll references than there was, or maybe there were and they were just obscure to pick up on (my only familiarity is with the Disney incarnations after all).

The story arc from Jeff Parker {Thunderbolts, X-Men: First Class} and Christos Gage {Avengers Academy, Angel & Faith} covers Willows adventures through various hellish dimensions in a quest to return Magic to her world, which was lost in the final chapter of Season 8.  (Something that happened during my most recent absence from comics and will have to go back to catch up on.)  She is joined by a mysterious stranger, trapped and seeking his way back home also.  Willow even runs into an old flame and sparks certainly fly (isn’t that magical sex is all about?  The literal fireworks).   The ending is very telling of Whedon’s touch as Executive Producer, I can only say so much without having to put a spoiler alert on here, but suffice to say there are several expected twists.

Maybe its the fanboy in me or the unhealthy obsession I have had with Allison Hannigan over the years, (I had an ex who would play dress up for me (maybe thats why she is my ex, I guess she didn’t think over-alls and knitted sweaters were as sexy…)) but a lot of Brian Ching’s {Star Wars: KOTOR, Star Wars: Republic, Witchblade) artwork looked nothing like her.  All of the phenomenal cover work was pretty spot on, but the heft of the comics art felt a little lacking.  That’s not to say it wasn’t great work in its own right, which it is, it just failed to capture what I envisioned to be the true essence of Willow Rosenberg; her adorable button nose, her mousey red hair, her delectable bosom being barely constrained behind a crocheted bunny…. (Sorry this almost got away from me there).

 All in all this was a great run that has certainly rejuvenated my love for the Buffyverse.  The story was fast paced and intriguing enough to keep me planted in one spot and finished the collection in one sitting.  The art team was consistently stunning and gave the comic a very strong 90’s feel, which is very appropriate for the world.  I highly recommend this run to any fan of the Buffyverse, though it may loose some appeal to anyone not familiar with the world. My official rating is 5 thorns out of 7.


You can see what else Liam has to say over at What the BlackRose Says or find and stalk him on the Facebook, Gods know he could use the attention…