Alice Ever After #4 Review The Nerdy Basement

Alice Ever After #4 Review – Defeistification

Everything that comes out of her mouth is troubling. Spoilers for Alice Ever After #4

Alice Ever After #4 from BOOM! Studios is the penultimate issue in this comic run by Dan Panosian and Giorgio Spalleta. I have thoroughly enjoyed the series thus far and if you want to read my previous reviews, check them out here (Alice Ever After reviews). First of all, that cover! Holy smokes. It looks like something you might see in a grim and gritty Batman comic where they actually treat the criminally insane as the psychotic killers they are, rather than some dysregulated toddler.

The dour expression Alice holds combined with her face padlocked into a cage exudes this beautifully harrowing effect. I honestly just want more of these covers. The story starts with the mention of a birthday! Everyone loves a party (until you’re sitting there awkwardly with people singing that droning song). Unfortunately, the Sacred Heart Hospital is not keen on the idea of providing Matthew the birthday he deserves, going so far as to hide his delivered presents and provide him with another, asylum-approved gift (more on that later).

Edith, Alice’s sister, is concerned about the treatment Alice is receiving at the sanitarium. The topic of their father operating on the deceased mother is brought up (see the last issue) to which he denies everything. No surprises there. So when Mistress Hulda comes to the family home, Dr. Lutwidge is more than eager to agree to experimental surgery to keep Alice quiet (the story alludes to a lobotomy). And for some contrived, plot-driven reason, the other sister, Lorina, thinks the surgery is a good idea. 

After a bit of rough and tumble with Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Alice is thrown into solitary again where she notices she’s run out of opiates to escape to Wonderland. In a meeting with the Headmistress, Alice reveals she’s beginning to have withdrawals but Hulda is reluctant to provide more, always trying to wield the upper hand. The issue ends with a frightening entry from Alice’s inmate friend, Matthew. As a birthday gift, he has been treated for the aforementioned surgery and, with a big bandage around his head, silently walks Alice back to her cell.

The full page spread at the end evokes a powerful image of Matthew grimacing and Alice on the floor, screaming to the heavens. This issue ran into the very familiar trend of penultimate issues—comics and TV—where they spend a lot of time divulging in character and dropping story threads to wrap up in the finale. While I’m still not sure how this comic run will finish, happy or not, some questions remain unanswered. 

Dan Panosian has done a skillful job at distinguishing his characters in this world with their speech and actions. Hulda leans heavily into her high standing by blatantly stealing and ordering people around, whereas the dialogue of the rich is clearly different from that of the working class guards. As I previously mentioned, the cover is jaw-droppingly inspiring. Panosian has consistently hit the nail on the head with the covers. Spalletta continues to showcase his skills within the gothic world of London and the insane asylum. 

One thing I sorely missed in this issue was Wonderland. This was even addressed by the two cats who narrate the story, so I appreciate the fact that Panosian understands what we want to see. It’s almost like he is forcing the drug-induced Wonderland withdrawals on the reader. A feat I did not see coming.

Alice Ever After #4 is out now. 

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