Zenescope Entertainment 2005
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Marc Rosete
Coloured by Erick Arciniega
Lettered by Ghost Glyph Studios
Lance, a promising new Realm Knight from Wonderland, has had a hard time adjusting to life as a student at Arcane Acre. The others suspect him of having a connection to Bloody Bones, but Lance is just trying to get a fresh start. Meanwhile Mary Medina, another new student, joins the fold and her necromancy will draw her to Ali, who has been skipping class to spend time with Hailey’s ghost.
I have to say that this was a pretty darn good characterization issue. A good deal is brought to life about some characters, Lance in particular. While I do wish we’d seen the formal introduction to Mary to the rest of the students i’ll let that slide. Starting off with the kids going on a field trip is always a recipe for disaster of some sort though this time around Pat manages to keep it simple. Wiglaf and his new face when he’s out in public, the kids settling in and keeping the bonds of friendship building and the all important back story to Lance make this a really strong solid issue.
Marc and Erick do some incredible work on these kids here. That they look their age and yet are so nicely detailed and full life and expression really helps sell their youthful enthusiasm and sorrows. Plus it makes the school uniforms look like a really good idea.
Wonderland is a place that regardless of Callie’s best efforts will always be steeped in Madness. Lance’s story of him and his parents and everything he’s been through before coming to the school is a testament to that. Still I loved learning about him, his father in particular and then the whole idea that his dreams, influenced ? by the way, tie into the story at hand so nicely really made the flow of this issue so great. Then there’s the flower borders to that dream/flashback Wonderland stuff that really gives it that extra oomph.
Part of me wants to know more about Shang while the other part wants someone to knock him down a peg or two. He’s an interesting fella for sure, too much a braggard for my tastes but he’s got history that’s for sure. That his museum holds the object Lance needs is of course not a surprise but much like it’s cousin Excalibur it’s embedded in a rock with an inscription. This plays out nice and the result of what we see in this issue will hopefully start to usher in that bigger story looming. We see the creature, Wiglaf saw and now Lance in his dreams the anticipation is getting higher.
Ali and Mary working together to do something a bit unusual and rique hmm what could go wrong. I mean theoretically his dead girlfriend could come back to life or they usher in a new zombie epidemic. Six of one half dozen of the other right? Still ah yes the potential either way is frighteningly good.
The longest running Zenescope book looks to be stronger than ever before with it’s current direction. With strong storytelling, characterization and interior artwork the school and it’s denizens stand toe to toe with any other book that’s been made along the same lines, yes i’m looking at you Avengers Academy and New X-Men.