In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #5

Skye continues to follow in her mother's footsteps, this time going to Neverland.

The covers: This issue has six covers for fans to find. The A cover is by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes and features the two protagonists, Belle and Skye Mathers. On a city street Skye holds her sword upright in a defensive position as violet energy crackles around the blade. Behind her is Belle with her sword ready to strike as she flies forward. Both characters look good and the city setting is strong. The colors really pop on this. Next up is the B is by Antonio Bifulco and Victor Bartlett. Skye holds her sword before her looking resolute as she keeps several flesh-eating pixies at bay. The heroine is definitely the focal point on this, with her coloring catching the reader’s eye. The pixies are bright purple with translucent green wings. These wings give the creature a very eerie flavor. Nice. The C features Belle soaring over a city, waving her sword above her head. She seems to be sporting a sly smile as she makes her way to her next adventure. This cover by Fritz Casas and Sanju Nivangune has a really positive vibe to it because she’s alone, accompanied by only a city below her, and the colors are joyous, highlighted by a strong blue for the sky. The D is by Eric J and Ivan Nunes. This cover is a little difficult to make out because of the coloring. It’s a highly detailed cover that shows a half eaten corpse in a fantasy forest, with several pixies flying out of its chest cavity. Because of all the details in the art, the colors blend in too much with one another, making it difficult to find a focus. This would have looked better in black and white. The first variant is the East Coast Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 250 copies) by Mike DeBalfo, with colors by Nunes. This is another postcard cover, issuing from New Jersey, The Garden State. I couldn’t recognize the redhead, with ample legs, who’s a waitress in a diner, sitting on the counter. To her right is a female police officer, who is looking at the woman’s legs, and to the right is a man who is looking up at the woman. A great looking cover. Sadly, I couldn’t find the VIP Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Elias Chatzoudis anywhere online. Good luck tracking that one down, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B B-, C B+, D C-, and East Coast Comic Con Exclusive A

The story: A man is walking home late at night in the city of Los Angeles. A swarm of insects momentarily pass before the full moon before one of the tiny creatures gives the man a nip on his neck. He swats at the thing, repulsed to find his hand covered in blood. More of the insects appear, but they’re not bugs, they’re actually flesh-eating pixies. They swarm over the man, leaving him nothing but a skeleton, which falls to the ground with a thud. At Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, Skye is training so that she can battle any threat. She’s not pleased with her results, but continues with her endeavors. After she’s done, Shang instructs her on her sword, Lysraseri, the Light’s Edge. He tells her what the abilities are of each gem that the weapon contains. She’s then off to bed and that’s when an intruder sends her off on her next adventure. This tale from Joe Brusha has an excellent reason for Belle and Skye to work together, with their meeting on Page 7 great. The villain that the two encounter is great and will be familiar to long time Zenescope readers. If one is new to this publisher, the character will be easily explained. The battle is good, with the conclusion building up Skye’s motivation to continue to follow in her mother’s footsteps. It’s neat to see time being spent on building a character up, rather than throwing her to the wolves right away, functioning as a clone of the original. Well done, Mr. Brusha. Overall grade: A 

The art: Ario Murti is responsible for this issue’s art and it’s full of a lot of detail. This is obvious on the first page with the buildings of Los Angeles and its streets. The swarm of pixies that engulfs the man at the bottom of Page 2 is really well done, with the skeleton revealed on 3 outstanding. This page also has a great sense of motion with the victim’s fall. The way that Murti shows Lysraseri‘s individual jewels is very well done, considering that it’s the same weapon shown from four different angles. The portal that announces Belle’s arrival looks great — it’s powerful and dramatic. Skye’s reaction in the second panel on 7 is solid, as she runs forward with energy streaming off her. Belle’s first appearance is stellar: she’s strong and beautiful. The heroines look fantastic when they battle the pixies. When the antagonist is revealed it’s a full page splash and it’s absolutely worthy of being so: the character is completely threatening, make her beauty second to the fear she inspires. Having the murderous pixies behind her increase her fright. Her battle with Belle is good, but Skye is fantastic when she powers up her sword to battle the pixies on 19. Belle’s final full appearance is great, as is her farewell. The last page is a good way to end the issue, as one character looks down upon Skye. Very well done. Overall grade: A

The colors: The majority of this book is set in the night and the colors by Ivan Nunes glow fantastically on every page. The first two panels of the book bring the Los Angeles night to life well. The blood that appears at the bottom of the page is wonderfully bright. Giving the pixies a purple shade instantly gives them a fantasy feel, changing this normally calm color into a deadly one. When Lysraseri‘s jewels are discussed, colors are used to highlight each gem. The portal that opens for Belle is excellent in pink and white. Belle’s skin is a beautiful bronze with her wings stunning in gold. The reds that decorate the villain make increase her simmering fury considerably. It was neat to see Skye’s power be a color other than violet, and 19 showcases a strong, different one. Good coloring on every page. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is responsible for the letters of this issue. He creates narration, sounds, screams, yells, scene settings, dialogue, and the tease for next issue. The variety of fonts used for screams and yells is terrific, and I’m always pleased to see a letterer use a different font for the narration and the dialogue. I would have liked to have seen some sounds in the battle with the villain, but that wasn’t Esposito’s decision to make. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Skye continues to follow in her mother’s footsteps, this time going to Neverland. The story justifies some character growth, a rarity in most hero books, and the visuals are good. You can’t go wrong following Skye as she goes out on an adventure. Overall grade: A

To purchase a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/products/grimm-fairy-tales-vol-2-5

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Grimm-Fairy-Tales-2016-5/digital-comic/487532?ref=c2VyaWVzL3ZpZXcvZGVza3RvcC9ncmlkTGlzdC9SZWNlbnRBZGRpdGlvbnM

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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