It’s a mad, mad, mad world as Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan’s maniacal quest to find Alyss continues! In Volume 2, Mad With Wonder, Hatter follows the Glow from London to the battlefields of America’s Civil War in search of the Princess who must some day be Queen. The America that Hatter encounters is a sprawling, wounded, boiling landscape of innocence and energy run amok. The war is tearing the country apart, yet Hatter must maintain his sanity in this maelstrom of holy rollers, child healers, prophetic snake handlers, deranged outlaws, and passionate southern belles. As Hatter searches he learns he is not the only Wonderland presence that has found its way to the Promised Land. Queen Redd’s black imagination is fueling the Civil War and threatening our world with her evil!


First, the story is no longer introductory in nature, so there is a lot more room to expand on the characters and concepts of the book. There’s also some nice backstory for Madigan as well as some general world building and I enjoyed those aspects of the book. Although I don’t think the concept is living up to it’s fullest potential, I do think that Beddor and Cavalier are doing some very enjoyable things with their take on the Alice in Wonderland premise.

Another thing that made the story more enjoyable to me was that it seemed to be more surreal that the first volume. Some of this has to do with the story itself while some of it has to do with the art, which I will get to later. The story takes place in the American South, during the last year of the American Civil War, and though it has only a little bit to do with the story, directly anyways, it does provide a nice back drop for it. Part of the story also takes place in an insane asylum, which helps to contribute the surreal vibe the story has as well has things like a carnival freak show. It all helps to move the story away from the more mundane aspects that were present in the first volume.


The change in scenery was one of my favorite parts of the book. In The Looking Glass Wars, the story only takes place in Wonderland and Victorian England. This book takes it to the United States where the Civil War is raging, leading to a new cast of characters, a new backdrop, and a different color scheme. It kind of expanded my view on the series to encompass more of our world, instead of limiting the story.

The blending of fact and fiction made this book very magical. It had fantastical elements, but was grounded with aspects of reality. The treatments that Hatter Madigan undergoes in the insane asylum were actually used in that time period. At the insane asylum, Hatter Madigan drew a set of playing cards. At the very end of the graphic novel, there’s a section called “Greetings from the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel,” in which Hatter’s playing cards are found to match the original illuminated playing cards that inspired Frank Beddor to write The Looking Glass Wars! The way that fact and fiction intertwine is very unique in this series.

RELEASE DATE: October 15th, 2009


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