Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars – A Comic Review

Posted on November 29, 2007. Filed under: Reviews |

Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars – A Comic Review

Imagining a Mad, Mad World

It’s great to read well known classic stories.  It’s even better to read reinterpretations of time tested tales.  Hatter M:  The Looking Glass Wars is the comic spinoff of Frank Beddor’s (producer of There’s Something About Mary) trilogy of novels entitled Alyss in Wonderland.  Co-Written with Liz Cavalier and with all of the artwork by Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Singularity 7) sets the story straight about Lewis Carroll’s young Alice and her trials and tribulations.Set in 1859 this comic recounts the history of what we know of as the Mad Hatter. 

His name is Hatter Madigan and he is the personal bodyguard of Alyss Heart, the princess of Wonderland.  He has an enormous problem:  After a coup brought down the reigning queen of Wonderland (Queen Heart, the ruler of a magical world where our fantasy is their reality), Alyss and Hatter jumped into another reality, ours.  In the turbulence of the journey Hatter lost track of his charge and must now make his way through our world and its many dangers to restore his princess to power. 

Hatter is one character who is as tough as nails and is as sharp as tacks.  He is not afraid to enter any situation or confront any amount of enemies in his pursuit of Alyss.  He comes well armed with blades that shoot from his sleeves and one of the coolest weapons I’ve ever seen, his hat.  Working like a boomerang, he throws his topper like a Frisbee and while it spins to its target, it flattens out and becomes a rotating circle of blades.

Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier spin a great yarn of a great fantasy character crashing into our reality.  How they portray the different characters from Carroll’s original deserves to be applauded.  Who would have thought the Cheshire Cat would be great in an assassin’s role?  And the new elements that they’ve added to the story, like vampires who feed on children’s imaginations and a secret society trying to rid the world of said imaginations.

Once again, Ben Templesmith proves to all that he has a real genius for the use of colors.  With each turn of the page, we are presented with an explosion of colors that are rarely seen (or played with).  One page could be nothing but green but the subtle variations and tones help to pull you into the story and make Hatter Madigan’s nightmare world more real (he was able to do the same thing with the color gray in 30 Days of Night).  His characters once again are creepy and have an otherworldly quality about them.  You wouldn’t want to meet one in a back alley somewhere.

All that took to bring this book together required a great amount of imagination.  It’s only fitting to have part of the story be about imagination and the world’s need for it.  We were granted wonderful imaginations when we were young.  Listening to my son talk and watching him play it’s amazing to see how much of our early lives are made up by fantasy.  People tend to lose that imagination as they get older but it is so essential to us as a human being fully alive.  We relate to the stories that we hear of the past through the use of our creative minds. 

If we hear the mystical and the mythical we have to employ that part of our brains that makes the fantastic, believable.  The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Odyssey, the Gospels:  all of these are stories in which the only way that we can relate is to use our imaginations.  In that way these worlds can become real again.  So join with the writers and artist of this great book to celebrate the gift that is my imagination. 

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