Review - The Weirding Willows
Review by Paul Fiander
Writer: Dave Elliott.
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Sami Basri.
Colorist: Sakti Yuwono, Jessica Kholinne & Glroia Caeli
Letterer: Imam E. Wibowo
When it comes to the greatest times for art creation many will mention the Renaissance, you had some of the greatest artists of the time all churning out masterpieces. Whether this was a product of the time or just down to sheer dumb luck we will never know but one thing is for sure we reap the rewards whenever we visit places like the Louvre. In many ways when it comes to literature the end of the 19th Century must rate as one of the most productive ages of all time. This roughly ten year period is the reference point for writer Dave Elliott, as he dives into and elaborates the lives of some of the greatest literary characters of all time
The book centres on Alice Moreau, a very interesting girl who lost her mother at a young age and fell down a rabbit hole. If this girl sounds familiar then you have probably read (or watched) Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass. Elliott though has done two things to Alice firstly he has aged her and she is now an 18 year with something of an adventurous heart as you would expect. The second change is her name, in the original text we never knew Alice’s surname but thanks to a little lateral thinking Alice is now a Moreau with a complex back-story woven into her life.
Alice though is not the only literary figure to receive this treatment; this is mostly thanks to the fact that often the names of characters were not completed. You got a forename or surname but generally not both, from this Elliott has created his world. The way he works different story strands in to the narrative is the strength of the book, everything seems to work when you think about it. A great example is Doctor Moreau; he is famous for cross breeding animals and when a certain inhabitant of Oz asks him for his help you can only chuckle at where the story is going.
Unfortunately the story can suffer for the way the stories interweave as there is a lot of expositions as you are acquainted with the players in the story. This can lead to a pacing issue that would be more apparent in single issues; this however is where the volume structure suits the comics’ construction. The wait between story pay-off’s feels less in this instance and I feel this helps the pace. This is a wordy book but the conversations are so important that it really is worth taking your time.
Thankfully the art helps you keep your eyes glued to each panel as you get to meet a number of visual creators within this volume (listed above in the credits). The visual style does not suffer for this instead it feels like a rather consistent style with rich colours and intriguing character designs.
Each chapter ends with a field guide; these are a picture and the story of the character in question. The way their back stories are created makes me want to know more about Elliott’s take on these characters as well as wondering who else in the literary world he can elaborate on. It is a brave man to tale on the greatest story tellers but within the Weirding Willows Dave Elliott et al seem to be taking the giants on and more than holding their own.
Issue Rating 4.5/5
The Comic is available from Titan Comics. To find out more about Weirding Willows at the Titan Comic Site here
A few more Titan Comics to sink your teeth into
Images courtesy of Titan Comics
Comic - Provided by Publisher
Comic - Provided by Publisher