03rd Jul2014

‘The Weirding Willows Vol 1: What The Wild Things Are’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Dave Elliot | Art by Barnaby Bagenda | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Hardcover, 104pp


When Alice crawled through the rabbit hole and entered Wonderland she found a world unlike any other and made a many friends along the way.  What if though the Wild Woods in which the hole was found didn’t just hold the way to Wonderland but to other worlds too? Welcome to The Weirding Willows by Dave Elliot.

The Weirding Willows is a pop culture mash-up dropped onto the pages of a comic and now with the first six editions in a graphic novel with another exclusive chapter added, we have a good introduction into Alice’s world of total chaos.  With characters such as Frankenstein’s Monster, Mowgli, The Wicked Witch of the West, a werewolf and even a T-rex, nothing is ever normal in The Weirding Willows.

The first thing to hit you is that Alice in this version of her story is the daughter of Phillipe Moreau who we find is working on the creating of flying monkeys for the mysterious Magareete Marche (The Wicked Witch of the West), introduced to Moreau by Dr. Jekyll.  As you can tell we’ve already merged classic novels together in a clash of stories that are anything but boring.  The surprising thing is of course that Alice appears to be on the wrong side of what we would term to be the good and evil characters, though she is of course classically good.  This is why she bans her friends from going anywhere near her house to enforce the danger held within, Moreau as we know likes to experiment with unique creatures, and talking rabbits (and other woodland animals) would be perfect experiments to him.  In fact we learn he has a history of using her pets when needed.

The basic storyline that centres on Alice and her father is well-placed for the chaos that sprouts up at the start of The Weirding Willows, this allows for the characters that are introduced to be not only Alice’s friends but potential enemies too.  Dr. Dolittle’s son for example brings animals for Moreau’s testing, which in turn brings in Mowgli trying to help the animals.  Mowgli is in fact connected to the Dolittle family by blood, giving an explanation as to why he can talk to the animals from The Jungle Book.  Frankenstein’s Monster appears looking for his dinosaur friend which in turn leads to the White Rabbit to look for Alice’s help in restraining him in his initial furore at anything around him.  It sounds a lot to take in but with Dave Elliot’s story telling style and the colourful world of The Weirding Willows we are eased into the introduction for the characters and their own personal stories.

When looking at the number of characters in the world of The Weirding Willows it is fair to say that Dave Elliott could lose the reader in the sheer number they have to follow.  There are characters who sit in the background watching everything with interest (The Cheshire Cat would be an example of this) and characters such as Wonderland’s Red Witch who we hear of but don’t meet yet but it’s made clear that she is to be a big part in things to come.  In this graphical novel form though these first chapters of the story do more than enough to get the reader hooked and keep them wanting more.

I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to The Weirding Willows and look forward to seeing just where Dave Elliot is going with the story.  As a fan of the classic novels that have been used for inspiration, I enjoyed each worlds that are being revealed whether from a H.G Wells novel, Wonderland or Oz.  As the reader we are very much like the Cheshire Cat enjoying the show as all hell breaks loose into The Wild Woods, with volume one being the perfect introduction into Alice’s crazy world.

***** 5/5

The Weirding Willows Vol 1: What The Wild Thing Are is available now from Titan Comics.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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