"White Queen #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Troy Brownfield
Illustrated by Luca Claretti
2014, 32 Pages
Comic released on February 4th, 2015
Calie Liddle is bringing sanity back to Wonderland as the White Queen. Just as she's started to get her kingdom in order, the Age of Darkness set in. Her daughter, Violet, has been kidnapped by the Dark Queen and held hostage to keep Calie in check. Now she must do the bidding of this new mistress if she hopes to see her daughter alive. Of course, this would pack more of a punch if we didn't already know that the Dark Queen gets defeated and Violet is safe and sound thanks to other comics.
A few months back, Zenescope's premiere title, Grimm Fairy Tales, shook everything up with its landmark 100th issue. Then it quickly put everything back to normal by jumping forward a bit in time with issue #101. The publisher is still filling in some of the gaps with comics like Realm War and White Queen, but they don't mean much because we know the characters aren't in any real danger. Violet is one of the students at Arcane Acre in the current Grimm Fairy Tales, so we know she gets out alive and unscathed. If anything, this comic should have come out about six months ago.
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Discounting this problem for a moment, White Queen focuses on the...well...the White Queen. Calie must put her plans for Wonderland on hold to run some errands for the Dark Queen. This involves keeping her anger in check while slowly figuring out ways to get out from under the evil woman's grasp. Calie can't openly defy the Dark Queen for fear of losing her daughter, so she has to tow the company line.
Writer Troy Brownfield really hammers home this feeling of near hopelessness that Calie finds herself in. She's faced with an adversary that is both cunning and ruthless. The Dark Queen is not afraid to get her hands dirty...literally. She expects her orders to be followed and she will make an example out of you if you don't listen. This issue basically serves to remind Calie of that fact and show the lengths the Dark Queen will go to get what she wants.
Working alongside Calie is the Chesire Cat. I've always liked the design for this character, and artist Luca Claretti's depiction is no different. He's a fearsome beast with giant sharp teeth that don't even fit in his mouth. He's not above tearing out a man's throat, but he holds back that bloodlust now that he's working with Calie instead of against her. He's proven to be a wise adviser to the throne.
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Claretti also provides some dynamite art in a battle sequence where Calie takes a giant axe to mutant mushrooms. She's vicious with that thing and tears through the fungi, spewing blood and guts everywhere. I didn't realize that's what mushrooms were made of, but hey, this is Wonderland and crazy stuff happens here. This helps cement Calie as a strong female lead for the series. She's fully capable of taking care of herself and doesn't need her pet sabretooth tiger to fight her battles.
White Queen sheds some light on what was going on in Wonderland during the Age of Darkness. Granted, we know how things turn out due to the other ongoing Zenescope titles, so this doesn't come across as all that effective. The characters are in no real danger. That being said, I am interested to see how Calie deals with the Dark Queen and how she'll go about saving her daughter. Things got a little bloody this time around and I have a feeling that's just the beginning.