After three stellar issues for Spike, I had high hopes for Willow. She’s grown a tremendous amounts since the first season of Buffy, and her new role in life deserved a miniseries. And my hopes were met, as the first issue was a solid issue.
Jeff Parker, the unsung hero at Marvel, captures the voice of Willow perfectly. Often, I found myself hearing the dialogue in Alison Hannigan’s voice in my head. That upbeat, and peppy voice that has come to define Willow is front and center in this issue. While the affect of a world without magic has been touted quite a bit in other books, but it’s really felt in this issue. The small things are brought up, and make Buffy’s actions feel heavier. It’s been one of the weaknesses of the main Buffy book, as everyone complains that the world needs magic, but the reader is never shown why. I’ll appreciate the mentions in future issues of the other series. This issue is mostly set up, which gives the issue a stunted feeling. It reads very fast, which is going to turn some people off.
If you haven’t been reading Angel & Faith, you might be a little lost with what is going on. Granted, you should be reading that series, as it’s one of the best books on the market. Parker does his best to catch readers up, but realizes that if you are reading this book, you already have a general idea of what is going on in the Buffyverse. The idea of Willow being in Wonderland is something that didn’t click with me until the big caterpillar. I like the idea that of there being a “real” Wonderland, and see how Parker flips it on it’s head. Parker makes great use of the #1 on the front, bringing readers up to speed on almost everything that Willow has done. Every big moment that has happened to Willow since the first season is mentioned in the span of a couple of panels. A lesser writer would have messed this scene up, but Parker incorporates it in the story well.
Brian Ching’s artwork suits the trippy book well. When it comes to Buffy books, I prefer that the artist tries to capture the likeness of the actor who played them. It’s not a necessity, but I’d prefer it. Ching’s Willow looks nothing like Alison Hannigan, but it still works. Ching incorporates some of the quirks and tiny things that Willow does to make her Willow. The massive monster looks fantastic, as does the fight. I would have liked some more definition in the backgrounds, as it’s impossible to tell how far the characters have traveled while they are talking. It’s more nitpicking than actual problem. Willow: Wonderland #1 is mostly a talking head issue, which seems to play to Ching’s strengths. I’m not too familiar with Ching’s work, but I’m looking forward to see what he does with the rest of the series.
As with every other Buffy book, Willow starts off on the right foot. The Buffy books add another stellar series.
Willow: Wonderland #1 gets 4/5.
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