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The Looking Glass Wars: CrossFire by Frank Beddor and Curtis Clark
Cover Artist: Sami Makkonen
Review by Gayle Surrette
Automatic Publishing Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780991272945
Date: 19 April 2016 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

I have to confess this is the first of The Looking Glass War graphic works that I've read. I do have several version of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in both prose and graphic novel form. As readers of this series probably know that doesn't really prepare a reader for the world of Wonderland as envisioned by Frank Beddor and Curtis Clark. Wonderland is a world of imagination and technology based or infused with imagination. It also very much a class based society with the lower classes living on the borders and rising in status as you move toward the capital city.

Queen Alyss Heart is trying to establish peace and trade with the borderlands. The other suits don't seem to want to deal with such savages who don't understand their place. Previously, Alyss had given up her ability to conjure imagination energy so the other suits now see her as weak. Political ambition and the quest for power seems to be at the heart of the assassination attempts on Alyss.

Alyss must hold her position, deal with the powers of the other suits (Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades), and the dissension within Hearts. She's balancing a number of issues, including a theft of a shard that may have been sent up the rabbit hole to our world.

Queen Victoria assists Alyss in trying to regain the shard which is necessary to keep the balance of powers within Wonderland. Victoria matches Alyss' spy with one of her own.

The artwork and text work well together. The art has more feeling to it than representation. So, to me, it was often difficult to recognize a character if they had not been in a previous page rather than an adjacent scene. It was, however, easy to pick up action, tension, excitement, and other emotions from the artist's rendering of the scenes.

This is a much darker and more nuanced Wonderland and well worth the trip -- er, read.

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