Willow – Wonderland #1 Review

Willow is on a quest to bring magic back into the world, even if it means siphoning it from a different dimension, Wi-Fi style. Continuing off from the last issue of Angel, she's traveling between parallel worlds, sampling each one's magic and seeing if it's compatible with the Buffy-verse. Having no more magic in their dimension was an integral part of the story in past issues but it wasn't really explained properly until now. Without magic, all the little beauties in life are diminished. New music isn't as melodious (though that could be said of all new music /cranky old Fred), rainbows are missing most of their colours and no one is truly inspired to create anything anymore. It's an unsettling but brilliant way of showing how much magic influenced the world beyond the hocus-pocus of spells and demons.

Jeff Parker is Willow's voice in Wonderland and he expertly matches the tone, style and quirkiness of Sunnydale's favourite ginger witch. Just to be clear, I say that with love. She's as perky as ever, upbeat in a strange land with many dangers. Her magical abilities and their effectiveness changes from dimension to dimension so she's constantly struggling to see what works and what doesn't. Though it would be easy for her to revert back to the veiny faced, destroyer-of-worlds Willow to achieve her aims, she fights the temptation and stays on the light side.

Barely there a few minutes, she manages to draw attention to herself and before you can say Tremors, she's being attacked by a giant worm with entirely too many teeth. Having run out of mystical juju to defend herself with, she's saved in the nick of time by a mysterious stranger. Marrak is his name and not only is he also a conjurer; he’s also from the same world as Willow. You wouldn't guess it, based on his rams-horned appearance, but that's apparently a side effect of this dimension. Or so he says. They set off together, walking and talking about the magic dilemma. Marrak has also been trying to get back to his home world but is unable to breach the invisible barrier since magic disappeared from the Buffy-verse. There is an undertone to his comments that Willow seems to completely ignore, which I'm sure will come back to bite her in the tuckus. Pardon my French.

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Brian Ching’s art is lovely and syncs well with the rest of the Buffy books. Willow looks enough like Alyson Hannigan throughout, which can be hard to maintain consistently without redrawing the same facial expression over and over. It’s a standard mystical adventure plot for this universe but it doesn’t stand out much, beyond giving readers some more Willow time. If you’re a fan of hers or are interested in seeing where things went after the last issue of Angel & Faith, this is the book for you.