Frank Beddor and Liz Cavaliers excellent Hatter M series continues on with a change of artist from Ben Templesmith to Sami Makkonen. Although I don’t particularly like Sami’s drawing style, it is remarkable how he has managed to capture a similar look and feel for this book. It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to say this but even though I don’t like the pencils and ink, the book is still visually very appealing.
In volume 2, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan’s maniacal quest to find Alyss continues. His search stretches from the dark alleys of London to the grim battlefields of America’s Civil War. In this book Hatter encounters many unusual folk including magical child healers, prophetic snake handlers, deranged outlaws, mad psychiatrists, inept assassins and passionate southern belles. The Hatter begins to understand that the red queen is having a distinctly bad influence on the real world through the auspices of her minions and that his quest for Alyss is not going to plan.
Volume 2 continues on with its disturbing treatment of children by the forces of evil and its strangely compelling story line. Hatter M almost meets his match with the minions of the red queen ending up losing his hat and knives but he is helped out by the least likely of folk. “Mad With Wonder ” is Printed on excellent quality paper stock, has tons of extras, is great to look at, has great story and will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first volume. [ISBN-13: 978-0981873725]. 8/10
The looking glass Wars is written as if it is a historical book from a fictional organization known as the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel. It is loosely based on the characters and settings from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland books but Beddor’s version is a much more sinister. It has flipped the story on its head with the hatter (who is is a blade master and ex body guard of the queen) searching for Princess Alyss in the real world. In this first volume of the geo-graphic parallel adventure trilogy, Hatter finds himself in Paris, France in the year 1859.
The looking glass wars is full of all kinds of strange and evil characters. There are undercurrents of vampires, child abduction and brain washing and all of this superimposed with strange psychic goings on. It took me a while when reading “30 Days of Night” to get used to Ben Templesmith’s style of art and the same thing applied in “Hatter M”. Ben’s art is unique in its style with an almost a child like simplicity but it is also steeped with a sinister undercurrent. At times it is too abstract for its own good and it is really difficult to figure out what is going on in the frame. I am normally a fan of a more traditional style of comic art (Jacen Burrows, Carlos Ezquerra etc) but for some reason I get a lot of pleasure from reading stories illustrated by Ben. In this book there is particularly inventive use of color to convey emotions and allegiances.
I enjoyed reading this book and its pages of extras which included historical documents , letters, pictures and articles to support the story (all fictional of course). It is also nicely presented with good quality glossy paper stock and a satisfying 17th century color palette. Ben Templesmith’s art may not be to everyones taste but the writing of Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier should win people over in the end. [ISBN-13: 978-0981873701]