Grimm Fairy Tales presents Robyn Hood #1

This issue is a perfect opening shot.

The covers: This inaugural monthly has five different covers for you to collect. David Finch is the artist of cover A showing the title character from behind, armed for action, against the city night. Excellent illustration with her hair blowing in the evening wind. The lighting on this is also well done, with the perfect reflection coming off her left side and illuminating her quiver to emphasize who she is. The B is by Giuseppe Cafaro, Simone Di Meo, and Ylenia Di Napoli. Robyn is kicking down a combatant and busting out two of his teeth in the process. She’s enjoying this take down as her foe goes flying. One spectator is afraid of what he’s seeing, obviously because he’s next. Super layout with the receipt of her wrath in the foreground and the coloring great with that rose background. Tina Valentino and Leonardo Paciarotti have created a very stylistic cover that resonates 1960’s cocktail parties with Robyn alone at a bar sipping a martini, while others can’t help buy notice her beauty. I love this art and the coloring creates a great retro-party vibe. Looking over the city from a high perch, Robyn considers her next move on the D cover. Emilio Laiso and Mirka Andolfo made this illustration. Robyn looks terrific, even if readers are only seeing her backside, but I really dislike a photograph being used for the city. This is bad green screen. I would rather the artist attempted to draw this background and failed or abandoned this cover concept than use a photo. In teeny tiny print it says there’s also a Fan Expo Exclusive cover limited to 500 copies by Jason Cardy available at zenescope.com, but I couldn’t find an image of it online. Overall grades: A A, B A, C A+, and D D+.

The story: There’s a short summary on the inside front cover to bring readers easily up to speed with this character, but the story itself has the same summary, so any new fan can follow Robyn’s adventures easily. Pat Shand opens this story up slickly with “So…This is different.” I’ll say! Robyn is the escort to an rising political powerhouse. What she hears coming out of this man’s mouth is terrific. I was giggling instantly and I knew exactly what she thinks of him. They go back to his hotel after his speech and something happens. Her interior monologue was gold. What she does to him is not graphic or sexual, but it is perfect. This is an excellent way to introduce readers to what Robyn does. Her exit from the building shows her appearance is actually a cover for what she does. The setting then moves to St. Mars Place, Manhattan, where the other lead of the series, Marian, is interviewing a potential client. I’ve read very little of this character and was glad to see her in action before Robyn enters. The banter between both women is excellent. I’d put it up there with the best of Joss Whedon when he was doing Buffy. Information must be gathered before committing to this case and another setting provides it. This location is the usual locale in urban fantasy stories, but it’s still fun to read. Another possible ally may have been made by the end of the issue before the villain is revealed, and–Wow!–what an entrance! This was fun to read, moved at a quick pace, had some snazzy dialogue, interesting characters, and a fun supernatural element. If the series continues in this fashion, I’m a fan for life. Overall grade: A

The art: The artwork on this book is very clean. The linework is thin and very stylized. Larry Watts is my kind of artist. I like the variation in panel size and layout, of which Page 1 is an excellent example. A black bar at the top to provide space for the introduction to Robyn’s voice before transitioning to a distant shot of the politician at the podium in a swanky hotel’s restaurant. A circle is used to establish a close-up of the speaker (I love the use of circle panels in comics. They’re not used enough!) before going to a shot of him walking to Robyn, with a final rectangular panel of Robyn looking at him, with her hair going beyond the borders and into the previous two, giving emphasis to her. This is a perfect page layout. The next page has six small panels establishing the exit and entrance to a new setting before expanding to the shenanigans of what’s about to occur. The splash on four shows Robyn is not one to be messed with, but I didn’t need the three explanations inserted into it. The characters show a nice range of emotions, with the final four pages telling their state without their having to say it. Impressive. Overall grade: A

The colors: A lot of heavy lifting is done by Slamet Mujiono. I like the art by Watts, but Mujiono is giving it depth. The first page shows this clearly. Check out the shading in the circle panel that highlights the speaker. The coloring of his face is amazing; the shading on the forehead and neck make him look real. Robyn’s shading around her nose, her lower face, and the highlights in her hair are tremendous. Things only improve as the book progresses, such as the work that went into her back in the fourth panel on Page 3. The best work by Mujiono is on Page 13, with the skin on the arm and the face of the “receiver” really outstanding. Also good is the coloring on the smoke effect that is a crucial plot point of this issue. Exceptionally well done. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, narration, sounds, and Page 5’s “reveals” are provided by Jim Campbell. All allow readers to smoothly experience this story. Overall grade: A

The final line: This issue is a perfect opening shot. Something worth adding to your monthly pull stack. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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