Art: Ben Templesmith
Script: Frank Beddor & Lix Cavalier
This is really working for me and most of the credit has to go to Ben Templesmith. The premise -- with which you may be familiar -- is straightforward: Princess Alyss has disappeared from Wonderland and Hatter M has been dispatched to our sad, grimy little world to retrieve her. Hatter M, with his assortment of knives and a wonderfully lethal hat, is a single-minded protagonist of a sort that we’re very comfortable with in comics. We expect him to prevail but the fun is in the hurdles he has to clear to do so.
And the story, taken from Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars novel, has just enough depth to make those hurdles interesting. Nothing is obvious or telegraphed (at least so far, we’re only two issues in) but even if it was you’d be too busy looking at Templesmith’s fantabulous art to care. It’s just that good.
I’m sure many of you read and enjoy FELL. That’s a nice collaboration piece but its format doesn’t really allow for the range shown here. The use of light, texture and iconography is perfectly suited to the theme and the relatively spare script. This is Templesmith’s show (as acknowledged by the positioning he’s given in the credits) and he’s well up to the task. It does carry a relatively steep $3.99 cover price, but if you're looking for something fun, interesting and engaging to look at, you’ll find this a solid addition to your pull list. (And if you’d like a sample, you can preview the first issue here.)