What happened back in Kansas while Dorothy was away in Oz? When Edmund, Lucy, et al. returned from Narnia, after having grown into adult kings and queens, how did they cope with reverting back to ordinary British children in the middle of World War II? There are plenty of classic stories that depict children finding their way through magical portals into strange and wonderful fantasy realms. Very few of them really deal with the real-world repercussions of such a journey. That’s what Mae does, though.
Nine years ago, Mae’s older sister Abbie started running away for days at a time. Seven years ago, Abbie disappeared entirely, and neither Mae nor any of their other family or friends have seen her since.
Now, Mae is college age. She lives in a quiet, ordinary town where nothing ever happens and helps her ailing father run the family business while living vicariously through her friend, Dahlia, who’s lucky enough to have been able to go away to college.
Then, all of a sudden, Abbie returns. Needless to say, she’s very different. Not only has she grown up, she’s also strong and commanding. Somehow, upon her return, she managed to get into a fight with some local guys which has them very angry at her—but also afraid of her. Where has she been, and why is she suddenly back?
Well, it’s probably obvious by now that where she’s been is a magical, fantasy realm, like Wonderland or Oz. In this other realm, she reigned as queen, fought monsters, and did the things that you’ve only read in books. As for why she’s back, it’s not clear yet, but then again, it’s only the first issue. What is clear is that something from that other world is also back, and it has it in for her.
What’s interesting about this story is that it’s told from the point of view of Mae, the sister who DIDN’T get to travel to a magical fantasy realm. The sister who was left behind to pick up the pieces after Abbie disappeared. From her point of view, Abbie’s entire story sounds ridiculous. When she tells of her adventures—the places she saw and the monsters she fought—it just sounds like a lot of nonsense words; however, gradually, it becomes clear that all of it is true. But, even so, can she forgive her sister for running off like that—especially when it meant that Mae had to forgo any adventures of her own, in order to be the responsible one?
This is just the beginning of what promises to be a much deeper and richer story. The artwork so far (by Gene Ha, who also did the story) is relatively ordinary for the most part, but based on a few images, it too promises to evolve and become more vibrant and fantastical as the story progresses. I’m already hooked and can’t wait to see how things play out in subsequent issues.