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Alice: Madness Returns

by yo go re

In 2000, American McGee's Alice was released, despite no one knowing who American McGee was or why we should care. Honestly, "twisted gothy Alice in Wonderland" isn't enough of a selling point by itself? All I knew was that the game was apparently designed by someone with the fakiest fake pretentious name ever,* and that Alice herself looked uncannily like a girl I used to date.** There was a toyline from unknown (and now-forgotten) company Milo's Workshop, but now there's a sequel to the game and Diamond Select is in charge of the toys. Their first release is a limited edition Minimate.

Alice Liddell was a young child when a fire destroyed her home, killing her parents and her older sister Lizzie. Feeling she may be responsible, Alice had a nice, decade-long, mental BSOD in an asylum until being dragged to Wonderland by the White Rabbit, where she fights the nightmarish residents and manages to restore her own sanity. Now released from the asylum (probably with a big red stamp on the back of her hand that reads "SANE"), she's living in Victorian London and seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Bumby, who wants to help her forget the cause of the fire. But when she finds herself in Wonderland again, the world is even worse than when she left it.

For all the Minimate's simplicity, Alice does a great job of looking like the game's renders. Her face is, as Yahtzee said, "like a spoon trying out its new contact lenses." Her light green eyes are easily twice the size of any other Minimate's. Okay, almost any other Minimate's. She has slight eyeshadow and a few strands of hair painted on her forehead.

Since this is a one-shot exclusive, Alice doesn't skimp on the paint apps. She's wearing her dark blue dress, which includes a new, large skirt that falls below her knees and flares way out to the sides (it contributes to her impressive jumping ability). She wears tall black boots with silver buckles, and has tall striped socks. Or maybe tights, since they run all the way up her legs - the stripes are present on all four sides of the legs, with no gaps. Like we said, great paint. Her apron is pale gray, and is detailed with painted stitches on the hem. The sash is tied in a bow at her back, painted with a skull in the center. There's a single splotch of blood on the dress, and she has the astronomical symbols for Earth and Jupiter - ♁ and ♃ - on her pockets. Her necklace is a silver Ω on a thin chain.

In addition to the new skirt, Alice gets a new hairpiece, straight and dark and designed to leave room around the shoulders. For some reason, her forearms are slightly thicker than the usual Minimate arms; we're not sure why that would be, unless it's a particularly heavy application of her fleshtone paint. She could have used the upper arms seen on Shadowcat and a few others - her dress had large poofy sleeves like that - but considering how killer the rest of her looks, you won't really miss them. One thing you might miss? Her vorpal blade. The figure includes no accessories, but Alice is rarely seen without her trademark knife. Punisher's accessory might have been a good choice.

Alice is sold in a small black box, the same size as the various "counter dump" releases, with a window in the front to allow Alice to peer through. There are Alice: Madness Returns logos on the top and front, and character art on both sides. The back has a big SDCC logo, the Spicy Horse logo (the development studio) below that, and a sticker identifying where in the production run the figure falls - this one is #488 of 1,000.

The other figures Diamond Select is making for Alice: Madness Returns are traditional figures - this is the only Minimate they're doing. So if you were hoping for some more characters to surround her, no, they're not coming. On the other hand, that just makes her a more unique collectible, and it's not like she won't blend in with your other figures. She can fight it out with the more traditional Alice coming in Femme Fatales Series 2 to see who's the better reinterpretation of a public domain character!

-- 08/25/11

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