Frank Beddor reimagined Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with his uniquely original Looking Glass Wars prose trilogy. Instead of a Wonderland full of smiling cats, talking cards, and lots of roses, Beddor infused his world with assassin felines, card soldiers equipped with heavy ammunition, and imagination that can be both powerful and deadly. Among Beddor’s cast of inventive characters is the complex and formidable Hatter Madigan, who is the focus of this new spin-off graphic novel series.
Hatter Madigan, the Queen of Wonderland’s royal bodyguard, swore an oath to protect the royal family and White Imagination according to the Millinery Code of Honor. When the royal family is threatened by the evil Redd Heart, Hatter is forced on the run with Princess Alyss. Their only hope to escape the bloodshed is to travel through the Pool of Tears to Earth, where Alyss can grow up safely until she is ready to return to Wonderland and reclaim the throne. Something goes wrong, though, and Alyss and Hatter are separated in the pool. Hatter, sans hat, emerges and immediately begins his search for the crown princess.
Stranded with neither princess nor hat, Hatter heads to the first respectable place he can find—a hat shop. Seeing as no one has heard of Alyss of Wonderland, Hatter is forced into the streets to search for any link to the lost princess. After a semi-bloody street brawl, Hatter is reunited with his invaluable hat, but not before he attracts some unwanted attention. Hatter manages to escape through another puddle portal and once again emerges halfway around the world. This time, he finds himself in Budapest and is irrevocably drawn toward a strange glow emanating from a young Russian violin virtuoso.
This strange glow can be nothing other than White Imagination, and Hatter realizes that he has found an important connection to Alyss. Numerous obstacles stand in his way, including the presence of uncut Black Imagination from Wonderland, and Hatter will learn that finding his lost princess will prove more difficult than he ever would have imagined. The world is a big place, and Hatter has only just begun his journey.
Alyss and Hatter’s time on Earth is only briefly mentioned in the original Looking Glass Wars. With this new graphic-novel series, fans have the opportunity to finally see what happened during the 13 years Hatter navigated the globe. Beddor connects the two series with appropriate flashbacks that fill in the gaps for those unfamiliar with the overall storyline. Ben Templesmith’s drawings are as dark and mysterious as Hatter himself. There are no warm tones here, and occasional splashes of color stand out against the eerie backdrop of Hatter’s perilous journey. This volume is also chock-full of extra material: questions and answers, artifacts, sightings, three different galleries, a preview section, and so much more.-- Benjamin Boche