What do you get when you cross Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Frankenstein, The Wind and the Willows, and Oz? One wacky puzzle of a story, that’s what, which was recently collected in a single volume. Is it good?
The Weirding Willows Vol. 1 (Titan Comics)
So how does this series combine all these worlds, anyway? Well, it does it through crystals that open portals between the worlds of Wonderland, Oz, Neverland, Mars, Pellucidar and Elysium all through an English town of Willow Weir. Simple enough of a combo, but what writers Dave Elliot and W.H. Rauf do so well is how they’ve woven these stories together. For instance, Alice’s dad is none other than Dr. Moreau, who just so happens to be crafting some flying monkeys for a woman dressed in all green. Then we have an older Mowgli talking to animals, and the ability to converse with the animals from The Wind and the Willows. It ends up being a complicated puzzle of characters who are woven in a very logical way.
It only takes about five pages to realize this is all about the writing and plotting with action taking second fiddle. That isn’t a bad thing though, as the writing is rather well done, be it through dialogue or pacing. There are times things feel stuffed with content, to the point where the story slows to a crawl to get all these characters in, but for the most part the story is open enough to capture all the dynamics between characters.
And that’s the crux of it; the characters and how they interact is why you’ll pay admission. Those of you looking for big action sequences or riveting character development may need to look elsewhere, because here it’s all about the combinations of characters. Ever wanted to see Peter Rabbit chit chat with the White Rabbit? You got it right here. There may be more development as the series progresses, but as it stands there are way too many characters to check in with for the writers to have any time to develop any one.
The art isn’t done by any one person, with all of these artists involved: Barnaby Bagenda, Sami Basri, Sakti Yuwono, Jessica Kholinne, Garrie Gastony, and Rhoald Marcelius. It maintains a consistent feel though and you never see where one artist begins and another ends. That’s a testament to the art team when you consider how jarring competing styles can be. Aside from the main narrative, there are some character bios at the end of each chapter that help shed light on specific characters who may not have enough time on the page. This is a good way to flesh out the universe and show how it’s different from the original works. The art in these sections is also very well done and gives off a classic story vibe showing off character design.
Is It Good?
Overall this is a good book with an intriguing premise and a masterful tapestry of characters woven together. It can be a bit slow since there are so many characters to read about, but if you’ve ever been interested in any of these characters it’s worth a look just to see what they’ve done here.
Get it July 1! You can preorder on Amazon now.