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Wrapping Wednesday: Micro Reviews for the Week of 4/6/22

By | April 11th, 2022
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

There’s a lot to cover on Wednesdays. We should know, as collectively, we read an insane amount of comics. Even with a large review staff, it’s hard to get to everything. With that in mind, we’re back with Wrapping Wednesday, where we look at some of the books we missed in what was another great week of comics.

Let’s get this party started.

Alice Ever After #1
Written by Dan Panosian
Illustrated by Giorgio Spalletta and Dan Panosian
Colored by Fabiana Mascolo
Lettered by Jeff Eckleberry
Reviewed by Gregory Ellner

With “Alice Ever After” #1, Dan Panosian crafts a version of Alice Liddell of Alice in Wonderland fame who has grown up somewhat, though never using that surname on the page. Rather than relying on the same story as always, Panosian instead leads readers into a stud that does away with pretense: “Wonderland” is very clearly a drug-induced dream land, and while rather benevolent, Alice herself is seen as something of an addict. However, despite the darker take on some ways, it is not without heart, as even in the more mundane approach, it keeps to some whimsy, amongst it being two apparently sapient cats that act as our narrators.

Panosian’s artwork, which works alongside that of Georgio Spalletta, is relatively realistic, but also somewhat stylized. With these dual elements, it remains more low-key than most interpretations of Alice in Wonderland, with even the animals seeming almost mundane and thus quasi-relatable. Furthermore, rather than changing the appearances of various human characters based on their relationships with Alice, they are instead drawn based on their individual moods, making each individual out to be more characters in their own right than extensions of the protagonist alone.

The colors of Fabiana Mascolo are not quite muted, but are still rather sedate for a piece around this particular subject. The use of colors based around what is actually happening, rather than accentuating them, helps to settle “Alice Ever After” #1 in a state of, if not complete mundanity, at least relatively down-to-earth storytelling for its subject matter.

Final Verdict: 7.0– An intriguing take on a familiar tale begins with this latest trip down the rabbit hole (in multiple senses of the words).

G.I.L.T. #1
Written by Alisa Kwitney, Maggie Dancer, and Ryan Roe
Illustrated and Colored by Mauricet, Jane Cat, and Elliott Mattice
Lettered by Rob Steen
Reviewed by Quinn Tassin

“G.I.L.T.” #1 is a hard comic to pin down. It’s a dual character study following Hildy Winters, a stubborn, independent Boomer and feminist writer and Trista, a Gen X former writer, now home health aide. While the premise of the series revolves around the early ‘70s day that they briefly met and end up going back to through a portal in Hildy’s kitchen this debut issue focuses on who the two women are. Now, that would make for a smart move if who they were had any real depth.

See, as thoughtful as “G.I.L.T.” #1 is, as much genuine feminist thought and discussion it weaves into its dialogue, as much real history it reflects, it reads like a very shallow way to tell a story about those things. The characters feel less like characters and more like generic vessels for their respective generations and the ways in which they choose to engage with women’s place in the world. Hildy is strong minded, wore a jumpsuit to her own wedding in 1972, she doesn’t want help with things, and she still has the general energy of a second-wave feminist. Trista was a bit more of a lax, free spirit and now she’s left writing behind. The two trade their stories with one another but they don’t feel full at all. They aren’t people who compliment the themes of the book, they’re the themes made into characters.

The art is mostly very solid. The costume design, in particular is an excellent display of talent. Each article of clothing seems real in some way or another. Long pants are torn at the heel in the 70s. A coat has intense wrinkles. The backgrounds, too, are filled with detail and life that displays intense care. From crooked frames to not quite falling stacks of papers to creased folders, there’s not a single phoned in detail in the rendering of this world. The characters themselves are competently designed. They’re distinct and they’re expressive and it’s easy to feel connected to them which its the most important aspect of a character in something emotionally intimate like this book.

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The background short stories are strange in interesting ways and certainly demand more time than they have. “Return of the Humans” is definitely an interesting, Wall-E-esque idea about humans returning to Earth after a century of post-Nuclear War caretaking by robots. It’s a brief narrative but a story about robots acclimating to life on a human-less world then contending with there return seems cool! “The Lever” is a charming a silly cautionary tale about not messing with things when you don’t know what their consequences would be. Given that it’s based on giving in to desire, a mildly longer story may actually work better, as desire would be withheld for longer, it works fine as is.

Final Verdict: 6.2- A well-intentioned but ultimately shallow story

Spider Punk #1
Written by Cody Zigler
Illustrated by Justin Mason
Colored by Jim Charalampidis
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Reviewed by Alexander Manzo

“Spider Punk” is an entertaining read that feels like what Spider-Man would be like if written by a teenager in high school who is into the punk scene. Cody Zigler keeps the quips in the dialogue for Spider-Punk, AKA Hobie Brown, but takes away some of the book smart elements that he is known for. Luckily he has Captain Anarchy and Ironheart in his “Spider Band.” At times the story feels a little meta in the ideas and slight differences from other multiverses, but the story feels plenty contained. The spider band is filled with various members of different ethnicities and sexual orientations that make them the band of misfits that want to fight against the system and, in this case, the Nazi version of Kraven and his hunters. The fight scenes were the meat of this issue, so whenever Zigler had the opportunity for some dialogue, it still felt a little amateurish, for example when Hobie brings some tech for Riri Williams it felt more like a detective finding clues for the crime rather than her intellectual knowledge of technology.

The artwork by Justin Mason fits the punk vibe due to his purposely messy linework that feels like it has some rat-fink influence throughout. Mason makes the exciting decision not to have any character in the story have the typical superhero, huge muscles in every panel, and no exaggeration either. All of the character designs are quite scrawny-looking; even Captain Anarchy looks like a teenager in a makeshift costume that wouldn’t survive an extra cold winter. The lack of backgrounds and background characters whenever Kraven and his crew were causing trouble gave the impression they were causing an inconvenience for clean-up rather than any danger that would hurt people. The color choices by Jim Charalampidis fit the gritty and rough vibe throughout the story and have moments sprinkled with hot pinks for lights in Riri’s room/lab and acid green for the background details. The lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham was a bit confusing on the first read due to the choice of red color for emphasis rather than any grammatical or capitalization when trying to make a point. It could cause a bit of flat tone for important moments on a first read.

Final Verdict: 7.5 – A fun storyline that puts some great twists on known characters, but until the final reveal of the true villain pulling the strings, it felt shaky on where it’s going to go for the rest of the storyline. It still needs some more development but a good hook for a quirky miniseries.

//TAGS | Wrapping Wednesday

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