BATTLEFIELDS: HAPPY VALLEY 1/COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND 1
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Two new minis from the folks at DE…
Garth Ennis’ incredible World War II stories return for a second go-around as the first issue of BATTLEFIELDS: HAPPY VALLEY gets underway. This new mini focuses on a young bomber pilot added to a veteran squadron, and on how he blends in with a crew that doesn’t want him at the throttle. Rookie pilots were seen as a good way to die in the skies above Germany, and the crew that protagonist Ken Harding joins is close to being retired. As usual, Ennis finds a way to take a story you might think you’ve seen before and make it seem fresh and new. Harding is an interesting lead, with some surprising character traits that come out at intriguing moments, and the rest of the crew is simply a hoot. Funny guys that feel like Ennis regulars. Artist P.J. Holden does a strong job of getting detailed action on the page without forgetting to make sure the characters intrigue. The first volume of BATTLEFIELDS was one of the best books of ’09; I’ll be surprised if this one doesn’t contend for similar honors in ’10.
Fresh off of DRACULA, Leah Moore and John Reppion turn their adaptive eyes to Lewis Carroll’s THE COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND. As with Stoker’s book, they have dived back into Carroll’s text and began creating a fuller, more organic version of Alice than we’ve seen before. Moments usually stripped from the text or condensed are given room to breathe. As with Dracula, it’s done with precision and grace. But I think what makes this a much stronger book than Dracula is that ALICE is simply better suited to the graphic format than Stoker’s more cerebral work. Carroll’s wildly imaginative story rightfully explodes onto the page of a comic. Of course, it helps that artist Erica Awano and colorist PC Siqueira are easily up to the task; the work is a glorious mash-up of westernized manga and pastels, giving this book the unique visual look it demands. Throw in a tasty cover from John Cassaday (which is beneath a die-cut!), and ALICE is a must-read.