Thursday , February 22 2024
Rest assured, Makkonen is the perfect successor to Templesmith.

Graphic Novel Review: Hatter M, Vol. Two: Mad with Wonder by Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier, and Sami Makkonen

Written by Caballero Oscuro

Author Frank Beddor's bold re-imagining of the Alice in Wonderland mythos gains a brilliant new chapter in this second graphic novel. Picking up from the events in the original Hatter M, the new book continues Hatter's quest with one significant change: a new artist at the helm.

Where the original had buzz-worthy and distinctive art by Ben Templesmith, the new adventure's art chores fall on the shoulders of virtual unknown Sami Makkonen. That's usually a recipe for disaster, but Makkonen remarkably contributes an equally distinctive run here that more than measures up to his predecessor's work. It's definitely reminiscent of Templesmith, with eerily distorted, fluid character designs and ink splatters aplenty, but with more fine line detail work that acts to bring the story into even greater focus. If you have any misgivings about picking up this book due to the change in artists, rest assured that Makkonen is the perfect successor to Templesmith.

When last we left our intrepid hero, royal bodyguard Hatter Madigan, he was lost in 19th century London on a fruitless search for the rightful heir to Wonderland's throne, Princess Alyss Heart. Paralleling and expanding on events in Beddor's first Looking Glass Wars prose novel, Hatter M segues directly into Mad with Wonder as Madigan continues his search in our world. This time, the scenery promptly shifts from England to the New World, as Madigan follows a tip to America where he lands in the thick of the Civil War. Along the way, he discovers that Wonderland's deposed evil Queen Redd has also made an incursion into our world and is impacting the outcome of the Civil War with her Black Imagination. Madigan's quest takes him to locales such as a "traveling miracle carnival" in the Deep South and an insane asylum in West Virginia where he encounters colorful characters and situations that will hopefully bring him closer to his goal.

Madigan continues to be an intriguing character thanks to his dogged determination and devotion to Alyss as well as his impressive weapons skills. He's something like a dapper Wolverine, with a decidedly dark and deadly disposition and lone wolf mindset that make him the best there is at what he does. Beddor and returning co-writer Liz Cavalier do a fine job of enriching his characterization here and also offset his serious tone with some humorous situations that add just the right touch of lightheartedness to his fantastic tale.

Hatter M, Vol. Two: Mad with Wonder is now available. In addition to the main story, the book contains bonus features including supplemental artwork and text documenting Madigan's historical record in our world, pages from Alyss's diary, a process gallery with script pages and draft artwork, and sneak previews of the next graphic novel in addition to the latest prose novel, ArchEnemy. For more information visit the Looking Glass Wars website.

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