Put to rest any delusions or disinformation you have of the tea guzzling madman of faux literary history and prepare to expand your consciousness as the saga of Hatter Madigan and his relentless search for the lost Princess of Wonderland unfolds on these pages.
In Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan was ordered by Queen Genevieve to take Princess Alyss and leave Wonderland after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd. But while escaping through the Pool of Tears (the portal connecting Wonderland to our world), crushing centrifugal force pulled them apart, and Alyss was lost. In this geographic parallel adventure, Hatter finds himself in Paris, France in the year 1859 shockingly separated from the child he had been sworn to protect.
Unbeknownst to Hatter, Alyss had exited a puddle in London, England. Lost and alone, she was befriended by an aspiring author to whom she told the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Carrol had got it all wrong.He even misspelled her name! Alyss had trusted Lewis Carrol to tell the truth so that Hatter would find her and bring her home. Instead, Hatter must endure a non-stop quest, crisscrossing the globe for 13 years in search of the lost Princess. While formidable with blades, a moment must be taken to introduce his signature weapon, the Hat. Woven and blocked from a material not available in any realm except the origins of wonder, the Hat, when hurled by his expert hand, instantly unfolds into a circle of blades to attack or defend.
The mad odyssey begins here… (goodreads.com)
I loved THE LOOKING GLASS WARS so I much and because Hatter was quite possibly my favorite character in the whole series I just HAD to add his comics to my Want list. Lucky for me my secret Santa got me the first volume this past Christmas and I couldn’t keep myself from it any longer.
Fifty pages is nearly half the book since it’s a comic (graphic novel, whatever) but they were a good fifty pages, telling the engaging story of how Hatter lost Alyss when they jumped through the Pool of Tears to escape Redd and how he started on his decade-long trek to find her. The story throws in little tidbits that you can read scattered throughout the series but they’re in our real world too. And Hatter deals with them all.
I’m not sure how I feel about the art. Sometimes I like it because the gritty, horror-ish style fits parts of the story but at other times it clashes with what I otherwise have in my head. I’m not thinking whimsical, bubbly art or anything but Templesmith has a distinct style that lends itself to the grittier, blurred type of storytelling that I don’t know if it fits with TLW or not.
It was an entire story of Hatter. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. It portrays him as the character we know in TLW: staunch, stoic and unmoving in his duty to the crown. But it also breaks down those walls and gives him a heart, even if it’s just a smidge of a peek at one. He’s not made of stone and we get to see him make jokes (rather, puns), be his kick ass self and save children whom he has no charge over, even if it keeps him from his objective. The story makes him more human and all the more relatable. I like him even more at the end of this.
I’m still on the fence about the style of the art. Like I said above, it was fitting in certain places and didn’t jive with what I had in mind in others and it makes me all wishy-washy about it. It’s elegant and fetching and creepy but at the same time I think the gritty, dirty aspects of the art were a little much with some of the panels. Or maybe I’m just pretty set in my head about what the story, and thus the art, should look like. But I’m still on the fence about it. I didn’t NOT like it but I’m not completely on board with it either.
I’m adding Volume 2 to my Want list. I need more Hatter! There’s a lot of story to tell here and it’ll be great getting to crack the shell on this elusive character a little more. I can’t wait!