PopCultHQ received a preview copy of ‘Grimm Fairy Tales Steampunk: Alice in Wonderland’ #1 from Zenescope Entertainment. Hitting retailers on New Comic Book Day, Wednesday, February 8th, this one-shot is written by Ryan Fassett, drawn by Noah Salonga and Fritz Casas, colored by Robby Bevard and Erick Arciniega, and lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of the one-shot of
GFT: STEAMPUNK – ALICE IN WONDERLAND #1 (One-Shot)
Writer: Ryan Fassett
Art: Noah Salonga, Fritz Casas
Colors: Robby Bevard, Erick Arciniega
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Covers: Renato Rei (A), Daniel Leister (B), Mike Krome (C), Jose Luis (D)
Grimm Fairy Tales: Steampunk introduced an alternate version of the Grimm Universe, where the characters we’re all familiar with have been reimagined in strange and fascinating ways. Each of these characters has their own story… and this is the story of Alice Liddle.
In this warped version of Victorian Britain, Alice would much rather spend her life inventing new technological advances than parading herself around at her parents’ social gatherings. However, when something very curious happens, Alice suddenly finds herself in a strange land, the likes of which she has never seen before!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
GFT: STEAMPUNK – ALICE IN WONDERLAND #1
Curiouser and curiouser! It’s the social event for all the elite and well-to-do in Victorian London. Or as Alice Liddle calls them, “Fops! Sycophants! Elitists!” In this land of wonders, Alice is dedicated to her inventions rather than attending the gala event, much to the chagrin of her overbearing mother. A creator of gadgets and necessities to usher in a better, technologically-advanced world, she aims to impress her inventor father with her creations. Her mother? Not so much.
After seeing her invention destroyed at the hands of her ungrateful mother, she frustratingly hurls the creation into the nearby lake…when something magical happens! (Wanna take a guess?)
This “Wonderland” is a welcome departure from the traditional fairy tale. It’s a Steampunk-infused environment with recognizable characters but taking on slightly different roles. The White Rabbit, Absolem the Caterpillar, and the Mad Hatter are all here but in a surprisingly fun and almost twisted way. Though the Victorian era is prominent to this alternate Steampunk universe, it is in this mysterious world Alice finds herself at home. Where she fits in and belongs. Where she can further her creations alongside another inventor in the Hatter.
But, just as you’d expect, the malevolent queen of the land is not impressed. So you know what that means, right? Alice vs. the Queen to the death…in the Octagon! (<– that’s gotta get some people fired up, right?)
Okay, so maybe there’s no MMA fighting in Steampunk-land but you can expect great interactions with the key players. There’s even an awe-inspiring half-panel of art that’s inverted, like with a negative image, that adds to the intensity and severity depicted. Brilliant choice! With this being a one-shot, you’d assume it’s a self-contained story. But given the ending, don’t count out Alice or what the folks at Zenescope may have in store for us.
Ryan Fassett is an excellent storyteller and his narrative is a magnificent approach at Alice Liddle’s solo adventure in this alternate Steampunk timeline. Throughout the entire issue, Ryan methodically laid out his story and did so in a way to keep a great pace and advance the premise evenly. One-shots can be difficult as you only have from cover to cover to deliver your story. Fassett does so compellingly with ease, all while maintaining the integrity of Joe Brusha’s established Zenescope character. If this one issue is indicative of Fassett’s writing ability, then it’s obvious that opting for Ryan to pen a GFT story for Zenescope was an outstanding move. Everything you’ve come to love and/or expect from the publisher is certainly found within Fassett.
Noah Salonga and Robby Bevard are credited with the interiors for the first seven pages, while Fritz Casas and Erick Arciniega tackle the pages when Alice heads to Wonderland. It’s a terrific approach utilized to incorporate two illustrators and two colorists within one issue.
Both pencilers are both very detailed in their depictions; Salonga begins with a more ornate, sophisticated approach with the Victorian-inspired scenes, Casas embraces the fantasy element with his drawings. Both illustrators marvelously take the writing from Ryan and make it explode onto the pages. I hope to see more of both Salonga and Casas in future Grimm Fairy Tales stories, if not within the same Steampunk timeline.
For colors, Bevard’s introductory pages capture the air and attitude of the elite partygoers but his strongest output is with Alice. Whether working on an invention, or out in the dark, night air reeling from her mother’s disapproval, these panels featuring Liddle are simply perfect for Salonga’s art and Fassett’s story. Arciniega has a bit more freedom, as he gets to explore the fascinating characters and wild atmosphere of the magical land Alice finds herself in. Though it is often softer or more matted than the earlier colorist, it increases the feel for the world and contributes to its mystery.
Taylor Esposito does a remarkable job throughout this issue. Always the consummate professional, this guy just simply knows how to letter: font sizing, placement, design, layout, effects, emphasis, and vocal infliction. A solid letterer can be the icing on your cake of a title, and Esposito is as sweet as they come. (<– that sounded a lot better in my head). Let me just say this…Taylor is one of the top letterers in the industry today. His work is always of high caliber, and he can deliver the goods. I’ve failed to come across a comic of which he’s been a part and for the work to be “just okay.” You can tell he’s spent time understanding the intricacies of what it means to be a great letterer and worked at attaining such a level of excellence. You are there, brother. Keep up the great work!
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
I have always been fascinated with the Steampunk genre. The industrial look of it, the inventive nature of the characters within. So it should come to no surprise I was intrigued in giving this one-shot a look. Too often, steampunk-related titles can be overly done where the only people who will likely truly appreciate all of the work involved are the ones in love with this era or genre. That the creators are looking to grow and expand your mind in regards to a Steampunk society. Not the case here with GFT: Steampunk – Alice in Wonderland #1. This story, and accompanying artwork, will appeal to all fans regardless. It doesn’t require a deep admiration for the gadgets and they’re not all up-in-your-face with it, either. It’s more about the time period, the intellect, and the the essence of steampunk, rather than the physical components. Seeing Alice and the Hatter working side-by-side for the betterment of science was great to see.
GFT: Steampunk – Alice in Wonderland #1 is complete with strong, captivating writing, filled with artwork arguably better than a lot from the Big Two, and a team of creators working in harmony to bring you a hands-down beautiful book from cover to cover. To those familiar with Zenescope titles, and especially their recently established Steampunk universe, you’ll love what this creative team brings to not only the title, but the legacy of the characters. If this is a new world for you, get ready to be whisked away on an adventure like you’ve never imagined with Lewis Carroll’s Alice. It’s a refreshing take on a classic story that will have you believing in fairy tales again. And what better home for that than Zenescope.
PopCultHQ’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
GFT: Steampunk – Alice in Wonderland #1
can be pre-ordered NOW on ComiXology,
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers on February 8th!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Ryan Fassett
Artist – Noah Salonga
Artist – Fritz Casas
Colorist – Robby Bevard
Colorist – Erick Arciniega
Letterer – Taylor Esposito