In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #9

This story lays the groundwork for future conflicts and a spin-off.

The covers: Twelve covers to find for the ninth issue of this outstanding series. The A cover is by Julius Abrera and Ivan Nunes and is the image I chose to accompany this review. The monstrous and evil Azeem clutches his fists in joy, power seeping out of his eyes, as he looks upon Skye about to be attacked by a lunging Jasmine. I’m assuming that’s Jasmine leaping at her, due to the ponytail, but I’ve not seen this new character dressed like this before. The work on each character’s clothes is exemplary. Nice tease of action between these characters, however this scene is not in this issue. The B is by Harvey Tolibao and Jesse Heagy and shows that Skye has encountered the Sphinx. This is a lush cover, with an incredible amount of details in the artwork and the colors fantastic. I like that the creature is focus, as the reader is seeing this as Skye is. Outstanding. The C is by Mike Krome and Ula Mos. This spotlights Jasmine, dressed in tight pants and a half-top sweater. She’s holding her sword before her and the weapon is aflame. Nicely done, with the lime green background making her pop. Sheldon Goh and Grostieta have created the D cover which has Skye posed for action in the Shadowlands. She’s looking around for any possible foes–and he’s high up behind her! The heroine really looks good on this, with her bright colors drawing focus to her, leaving the reader, like Skye, vulnerable to the villain behind her. There’s a Kickstarter Exclusive (limited to 250 copies) by Jamie Tyndall and Sanju Nivangune. I couldn’t find an image of it online, nor could I find the other Kickstarter Exclusives (limited to 250/125/75) by Paul Green and Mos. I did find the New York Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350) by Michael Dooney and Mos. This has Skye dressed as Nick Fury, smoking a cigar and holding two powerful looking guns. She looks good. There’s also a New York Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 100) by Dooney, but I couldn’t find that image either. The New York Comic Con Webstore Only Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350) by Tyndall I did find and this is a neat illustration of Robyn Locksley dressed as Venom. She’s got her normal, beautiful head, but her tight costume is Venom black, with her showing off a clawed hand. The final variant is the New York Comic Con Best of Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 100) is by Tyndall and Mos. This has Liesel Van Helsing on a white background, surrounded in a half arc of blades. She looks fantastic and several bats are making their way from the bottom center of the image to the top right. Good hunting, collectors! Overall grades: A B+, B A+, C A, D B+, New York Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive B, New York Webstore Only Cosplay Exclusive A, and New York Comic Con Best of Zenescope Exclusive A

The story: Night in Arcane Acre provides Jasmine the one time where she doesn’t have to worry about someone or something out to get her. She’s asleep in bed when a blue genie appears within her room. The creature’s arms elongate and grab her wrists. Even after she’s summoned her sword, she’s unable to stop the being. The entity’s glee is short lived, however, for Skye enters the room and slices off the antagonist’s hands. She commands it leave, using the power of her own blade to banish it into her magic book. A short time later she and Jasmine are speaking with Shang about what’s happened. Joe Brusha has Jasmine give backstory on why Azeem wants her. The story then moves to the Shadowlands where Azeem reveals to minon Bakur his plans for Skye. This story moves quickly, having the heroine confront the villain and one of its monstrous allies. The battle is good, but why it happened is left unsaid, with Azeem doing something. The book ends with three different characters moving in different directions: each of the heroines is in a dire situation, while the villain makes a move. I’m interested, but much is left hanging to be resolved later. This is especially trues with Jasmine, whose tale is continued in Dance of the Dead #1. I enjoy seeing Skye having to really work to better a foe, but this comes off as merely a setup to spin off another character into her own series. Overall grade: B 

The art: The visuals on this book look good with Julius Abrera as the artist. The opening page is very cinematic as the reader is slowly introduced to Jasmine: the exterior of the school is shown, then a hallway, until looking down at Jasmine in bed, moving in for a close-up of her slumber in the final panel. She looks completely at peace. This is a great build up for the full-paged splash of Page 2 for the genie’s entrance. He is buff, fierce, and looks as though he could tear anyone in two. She wakes and the creature disturbingly elongates its arms to grab her wrists. This is a nice visual to make the reader quickly realize this creature is much more than the cliché wish granter. I like that Jasmine quickly conjures her sword, but she’s next shown on the floor. When was she pulled off the bed? The middle pair of panels on 4 nicely show the joy and surprise on the genie’s face when Skye enters the fray. The layout of the final panel on the page is slick for having the sword be the image that guides the reader to Skye. The flashback retelling on 6 and 7 quickly and concisely gives Jasmine’s history and sets up the book for Azeem’s appearance. This villain looks menacing and the work that Abrera puts into the metal in his costume is good. 12 is a fantastic full-page splash as Skye’s first major adversary appears. I really like the braids in the character’s hair. The last panel on 18 has the heroine in peril in a classic way and she looks great. The movement at the end of 19 is accomplished well. The last page of the book is also a splash, with a small inserted panel, showing where Jasmine is. This is a good exit for the character into her own book. Overall grade: A-

The colors: This is a dark book, with the majority of it set at night or in dark locations, and Jorge Cortes creates it well. I like that he uses blues and grays for the opening skirmish, rather than making the setting overly dark. The work done on Jasmine’s skin and her sheets is very realistic. The genie looks great in a dark, reflective blue. The reader knows magic is being used with Jasmine’s sword colored red and yellow. Skye leaps out of every panel she’s in with her bright red and blue costume. The Shadowlands have an excellent oasis feel with yellows, tans, and browns taking center stage. When Skye uses her abilities, violets — her trademark colors — are strong. The last page has every right to be shrouded in darkness, even if Jasmine is using her flaming sword to see, but Cortes has colored her surroundings in greens and blues to create an easily seen evening. Cortes is aces on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates for this issue scene settings, narration, dialogue, yells, speech for Azeem’s minions, sounds, Sphinx speech, and the tease for next issue. Esposito continues his winning streak by having the minions have their own unique speech, altering the reader visually to their supernatural natures. The Sphinx speech looks appropriately monstrous. The sounds are also are a lot of fun, being perfectly suited for each of their appearances; my favorite of the issue is the late SLZZTT. Esposito’s scene settings should also be mentioned because they are so energetic, propelling the reader to continue their journey through this story. Outstanding, as always. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: This story lays the groundwork for future conflicts and a spin-off. The visuals are extremely engaging, being some of the best Zenescope has produced. I’m loving Skye’s adventures and am eager to see the Order of the Tarot’s evils explode. Overall grade: A-

To order a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/products/grimm-fairy-tales-vol-2-9

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Grimm-Fairy-Tales-2016-9/digital-comic/546410?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9pdGVtU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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