This week, BOOM! Studios brings readers down a familiar rabbit hole all thanks to its new series, Alice Ever After. The story asks fans to think of how Wonderland has changed since Alice first visited the familiar haunt decades ago. After all, tales of Alice's journey with writer Lewis Carroll have been read time and again, but creator Dan Panosian is ready to explore what happens after the fairy tale ends.
Alice Ever After #1 sets the stage right away as two cats narrate Alice's journey through a crowded emporium. The blonde girl from Carroll's classic novel is all grown up, but there is something hiding behind her easy smile. Everyone in town finds Alice to be rather odd, and they hardly know the full extent of it.
After all, Wonderland is not something that can be contained, and Alice was raised by its whimsy. Writer and artist Panosian makes that clear as this first issue breaks between the words. While Alice struggles to breathe in Victorian London's oppressive air, the Wonderland she knows so well is bathed in pastels. The fantasy world is the right kind of fanciful, but even Alice realizes she has outgrown Wonderland. But when asked to choose between her lives, Alice finds herself stricken over her future.
This first issue of Alice Ever After sets up its heroine's deep unease, and Panosian draws it out with little asides. Alice is distant from everyone, and that is just fine by everyone else. Addicted to the Wonderland's freedom, Alice has found herself searching for highs no matter the cost, and things get out of hand when murderers and policeman come to her door. Panosian makes it clear that living in Wonderland comes at a cost, and it will consume Alice if given the chance.
Her dependency is further highlighted by London's long shadows courtesy of co-illustrator Giorgio Spalletta. With help from colorist Fabiana Mascolo, this first issue is an acid trip laced with tea leaves and gorgeous prints. The familiar feels strange, and even Alice comes off too sharp when Panosian wants to show how much the heroine has grown up. But even with its gorgeous art, this first issue does real slowly. Exposition can kill a good pace, but issue #1 never manages to find a good rhythm despite several attempts.
Still, Alice Ever After has the clear potential to reframe Carroll's iconic story for older readers, and this first issue is twisted enough to keep most any reader hooked. Its artwork is charming to say the least, and Panosian has set up Alice's next grand adventure. But this time, the heroine may decide it's best to stay in Wonderland whether the Queen of Hearts approves or not.
Published by Boom Studios
On April 6, 2022
Written by Dan Panosian
Art by Giorgio Spalletta and Dan Panosian
Colors by Fabiana Mascolo
Letters by Jeff Eckleberry
Cover by Dan Panosian