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Something Wanderful Is Happening In Welcome to Wanderland #1

Welcome to Wanderland #1

Have you ever wanted to travel to a magical land with an uncanny resemblance to your favorite theme park? Then this is the series for you. From Jackie Ball and Maddi Gonzalez, comes the new limited series –  Welcome to Wanderland #1!

Careful What You Wish For

Meet Bellamy, expert in all things Wanderland, who stumbles upon a fantasy world bearing similarities to her favorite theme park. She grapples with her idea of what Wanderland should be and how it falls short of its old standards. Nevertheless, she can’t stop herself from coming back for more as the park continues to grow and change.

This desire for more leads her to find the real Wanderland, but the fantasy world isn’t quite what she expects. After the portal to her world disappears, Bellamy must team up with Riot, rogue princess, to find her way back.

Expectations VS. Reality

As a Disney fan, whose older sibling worked at the theme park, I found it easy to relate to Bellamy. She undeniably loves Wanderland, even if she’s the first to criticize its shortcomings. Her knowledge of the park does not fully prepare her for her journey, but it does make her more self-aware.

While she has dreamt of a real Wanderland, she knows that this world is not the one of her dreams. It plays by different rules. The characters she thinks she knows so well turn out to have their own minds and histories she doesn’t know. We will see whether her prior knowledge will continue to aid her or lead her astray. Either way, I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

The World of Welcome to Wanderland #1

In Welcome to Wanderland #1, Wanderland is both a rundown theme park and a fantastical world. We catch glimpses of it in the beginning, with its burnt-out light bulbs, caution tape, and colorful walls concealing ongoing construction.

While it may be falling apart, it still maintains a certain charm. Once Bellamy finds the door to the fantasy land, the world opens up into a vivid, full-page landscape. This is the real Wanderland in all its glory. It may have its ups and downs, but it’s still utterly enticing and entertaining.

Not only do we see the contrast between the park and the real land, but we also see the differences in its inhabitants. The comic introduces Lark Meadowstone as a typical, gorgeous princess in a ball gown (as portrayed by Bellamy’s brother).

However, the real Lark Meadowstone is a rebel who calls herself Riot. She sports a blue pixie cut, puffy-sleeved jacket, and lace-up boots to show, despite being a princess, you don’t want to mess with her. She’s ready for anything and is armed with a sword, a turkey-leg grappling hook, and a knuckle crown.

And let’s not forget her cape-wearing sister, Princess Syla. While she may not differ greatly in appearance from her theme park counterpart, I really enjoyed her more classic look. In both princesses, I found clever nods to multiple Disney characters, be they princesses or villains.

An Old Favorite With A New Twist

Welcome to Wanderland #1 may be a fairly common trope, but Ball and Gonzalez put in their unique spin through attention to detail. Fellow theme park lovers will appreciate the struggles and experiences that inevitably come with frequent visits.

Bellamy is both realistic and relatable, and her familiarity with the world gives her an edge, making her more self-aware. Mischievous and proud, Riot is the rebel princess we’ve been waiting for. Together, Bel and Riot make an interesting team, and I’m sure they’re in for quite the adventure. Overall, this was a great first chapter. I’ll definitely be tuning in for the rest of the month to see what happens next!

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Maddie Matsumoto-Duyan
A recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Madeline is an aspiring writer and avid fangirl of all things Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and more!

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