In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #110

A good spin on Beowulf with solid visuals.

The covers: A magical six for you to use all your powers to locate. The A is by Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes. The creature that calls itself the All-Modor is going after Wulf and Natalie. The monster looks good and the heroes look too small to do anything against the beast, but that’s how heroes should look. However, I bought the B cover by Pasquale Qualano and Alessia Nocera, which I’m using for this review, because Violet looks evil holding that ball of energy and wearing that top hat. “Top hat”…? Hmmm…Could that mean…? Readers will have to look inside to see if this is teasing the return of a major villain. Sela is wearing a red half-top and black jeans as she absently shows her bookcase to the reader, unaware that though the gaps on the shelf the All-Modor can be seen reaching for her. The art is by Alex Kotkin with colors by Giorgia Lanza of Mad5 Factory. It’s hard to find a focus in this image, even with what Sela’s wearing. The coloring doesn’t help because the bookcase and its contents are just a blast of golden yellow. There are also two Wizard World Philadelphia Exclusive covers, both with art by Eric Basaldua, with colors by Sanju Nivangune. The first is limited to 500 copies, while the other 100. The image is of Sela wearing tight shorts and a half top, with black boots, a black leg holster, holding a black billy club while laying before the Liberty Bell. She’s twisted at a really unbelievable angle to show off her back side. This isn’t as good as the usual good girl covers that Zenescope does. The final Variant is a Motor City Comic Con Exclusive limited to 350 copies featuring art by Joe Prado with colors by Nunes. This image has the top half of the cover dominated by a highway sign in blue that says “Welcome to Motor City Comic Con 2015”, and down below is Sela, sans glasses, shown from the bust up, wearing Steampunk accoutrements and not much else. It’s gorgeous, but has nothing to do with this issue. Overall grade: A B+, B A, C C+, Wizard World Exclusives both C, and Motor City Exclusive A

The story: Last issue Wulf killed a monster, and Natalie got tagged by the beast, so he’s taking her to be healed. Adraste arrives on the scene and does what she can. As he begins to tell his teachers what he killed a roar rolls across the valley. The ground under them explodes and a similar looking creature, three times the size of the original, comes out screaming, “Where is he who disarmed my blood? Where is…the Beowulf?” Wulf realizes he’s upset the creature’s mother who’s looking for vengeance. Meanwhile, back at Arcane Acre, Violet has magical energy swirling around her and Skylar Mathers to bring about the Convergence. She says, “I can make whatever I imagine happen, and you…you can give me the power boost I need to access the Convergence. We can have it all.” Oh, why wasn’t Sky’s spidey-sense tingling at these words? Violet’s obviously not up to good, and it comes to bear in by the book’s end. However, the main problem is the mama All-Modor going after everyone. The solution to this monster by writer Pat Shand, from a story by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and himself, is very clever, and leads directly into problems for the next issue. I really enjoy stories that solve one problem and then create a bigger one for another issue. Well done to all three contributors. Overall grade: A 

The art: There is a very interesting split between two artists on this book: David Lorenzo Riveiro does pages 1 – 10, 14 – 19, and 23, while Maria Laura Sanapo does 11 – 13 and 20 – 22. Both artists do a fine job, but Riveiro’s work looks most polished. This is due to his background and creature work. When the beast first rears its head, and body, out of the ground on a major reveal on the double-page spread of Pages 2 and 3 the monster is huge. On Pages 6 and 7 this creature continues to be giant sized. Look the comparison between it and Adraste in the first panel on 7: it could swallow the woman in one bite. When the creature appears on 12 it’s lost more than half of its size. Sanapo does a good job on her version of the All-Modor, but shrinking it will leave readers wondering what happened. She gets to finish out the sequences with the monster fighting the Beowulf, but they don’t have the visual tension the opening sequence had due to this change in stature. Another difference is in the backgrounds. Riveiro does a great job with debris on that double-page spread, including a castle top falling down. On 4 and 5 Arcane Acre looks great. If there are any empty panels of setting, they are filled by the magic being created by Violet. Pages 8 and 9 also have really good backgrounds. Pages 11 – 13 have generic arches and columns for the background, and there’s no horizon line for the setting; instead, Sanapo has a misty fog throw in as a substitute for ground. When Riveiro resumes drawing, the backgrounds become more detailed, and when Sanapo returns they disappear. The differences are notable. If one artist had done the entire book, it wouldn’t have so jarring. Overall grade: B

The colors: Doing one better than the artists, there are three colors on this book: Erick Arciniega on Pages 1 – 10 and 17 – 23, Grostieta on 14 – 16, and Viviane Tybusch doing 11 – 13. It’s on these three pages by Tybusch where the colors look different from the rest of the book. The opening pages by Arciniega are pretty dark, though all the work done by Riveiro can still be clearly seen. This is most evident on 2 and 3, which are the darkest pages of the book. Using red to highlight one character’s reaction and another’s dialogue is nice way to have them stand out. Pages 4 and 5 are lit by the magic being used by Violet, who’s using violets, yellows, and greens. These pages stand out, especially with the shading done on the characters’ faces, such as in panels two and five on 4 and one and five on 5. When the characters are focused on again, this time on 11, the scene is very dark on 11, and becoming like 1980s Patrick Nagel art on 12 and 13. The change between 13 and 14 is dramatic, though Grostieta’s work is more in line with what Arciniega is doing. Those three pages by Tybusch really look like they belong in another book. Overall grade: B

The letters: Ghost Glyph Studios do a solid job on an enjoyable variety of fonts. They provide dialogue, yells, sounds, The All-Modor’s speak, scene setting, laughter, and a chorus of ghostly voices, with becomes a character’s font. I’ve been really pleased with a lot of Zenescope’s books doing this for characters that aren’t human, and I’m pleased to see it in this book. Overall grade: A 

The final line: A good spin on Beowulf with solid visuals. Overall grade: B+ 

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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