Hatter M Volume 2: Mad With Wonder
This is the second in Frank Beddor's graphic novel versions of his "The Looking Glass Wars" YA trilogy, which is a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland. From what I've gathered, Princess Alyss is the main character in the trilogy, but here, her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, is the hero. He's on a quest in our world to find Princess Alyss, who has disappeared. Meanwhile the imposter Queen Redd is ruling Wonderland and trying to kill Hatter.
The artist is different from the artist for the first volume, but I didn't really notice. The art is still the same bizarre weird that sometimes comes out as beautiful and fantastic and MAD, and sometimes just looks butt-ugly. The writing seemed worse to me this time around. There was a lot of awkward dialog, a lot of cheesy dialog, and a lot of dialog that made me want to head-desk. Hatter Madigan is still a madly intriguing character, and the bonus art they include in these volumes are GORGEOUS. I want prints.
I thought the story wasn't as interesting in this volume, because it didn't include as much of the Wonderland plotlines or the fun stuff about the Imagination. I loved the arc in the first volume at the orphanage where everything was dark and gray except for when they used their imaginations, and then the color was promptly stolen away by the baddies. There wasn't anything close to that awesome in this volume; mostly it was just dark and gray and historical. The plots centered on the Civil War, insane asylums, etc, and didn't have enough fantasy and Wonder for me. I may continue reading this series for Hatter and the occasional gorgeous panel, but with even more unflagging indifference to its content.
Tactics Volume 6
I am loving the Tactics series. The main plot revolves around a folklorist/demon hunter, Kantarou, who hunts down the "Demon Eater" who has been sealed away long ago by who knows whom. Kantarou releases the Demon Eater, names him Haruka, and the two of them frolic around and hunt demons, some of which are nice, some of which are not so nice. There's also a Big Mystery with Haruka's past.
In this volume, the main storyline, as always, is cruising along and rocking, but there's been a bad habit in the last few volumes of giving half the volume to random side-stories. The side-stories are fun, but I kinda feel like there's enough of them to do a whole different series of publications. But then no one would buy them, cuz, OH HEY, no one cares. We read them because they're there, and we might laugh, or cry, or like the art, but at the end of the day, or rather, the beginning, we just want to know when Haruka is going to spill the beans. I'm curious how long they can keep stringing us along without cluing us in on the Enormous Lurking Backstory in the room. We got a lot of big hints in this volume, despite the lack of main storyline.
And is it wrong that I constantly want to cuddle with Kantarou? Eesh. Even though he's like, what, 26? He looks like he's 12. And that makes me feel a bit like a cougar.
This is one of my favorite series ever. As long as the rest of it doesn't break my heart, it will remain so. The characters are hilarious and interesting, the art is my favorite (it's a lot like Black Cat and Black Butler....or like a manlier version of CLAMP). I am eagerly awaiting volume 7 which should arrive any day now.