In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents Robyn Hood #4

You should check this title out. It has a great story and some outstanding action, with believable characters.

The covers: Three very different covers for you to track down, but all are excellent. The A cover is by Ken Lashley and Wes Hartman. It features Robyn with her back against a pole, her cowl up, arrow knocked, Red Riding Hood to her left holding two short swords, several ominous pairs of glowing eyes to her right, all composed against an urban city. Solid illustration and the coloring is perfect–the orange used for the city’s sky makes it seem dirty or used, while it also serves to highlight the blue and green in Robyn’s costume. Paolo Pantalena and Ula Mos do the B cover. This is a sweet action shot of Robyn taking down some wolf-like creatures. She looks tough and the monsters look mean. The coloring on this is also really well done. This time purples and violets are used for the background and the creatures, which make the vivid greens, pale flesh, and yellow hair of Robyn stand out. The C cover is by Johnny Desjardins and Wes Hartman, who can be found in several of Dynamite comics’ books. Their image focuses on Red Riding Hood in Times Square. She’s on the hood of a taxi, turning to look at a pursuer. What she doesn’t know is that she’s being filmed and is appearing on the giant television that’s the central icon of this famous street. She looks great and the red of her costume makes her the eye catching image against the cool blues of the city. Overall grades: A A, B A, and C A- 

The story: A poor housecat is being neglected by its owner, a fiery red head who picks up the pitiful tabby by the neck and tosses it aside. The animal hides in a corner to avoid more torment from this woman. The grouchy pet owner lights up a cigarette and calls a friend to see if their mani/pedi is on for tomorrow when a crash in the kitchen interrupts her conversation. The phone suddenly goes dead as do the lights in the apartment. She begins to curse the cat for the expected damage, and finds that someone has completely shattered the kitchen window. As the woman begins to swear at the cat she can’t find, she fails to notice several large, fanged creatures rising up from behind her that will be her end. Flashing back to earlier, the same woman has had the window on the side of her car smashed by Robyn because the red head left her cat in the car with the windows up. The two have words and the police are hailed. Things don’t go well for Robyn. Page 5 has some nice dialogue between Robyn and the friend that comes to help her out; it seems incredibly natural and that’s a big point in writer Pat Shand’s favor. The conversations between characters are real. Often flippant remarks or heroic proclamations seem forced by a writer to come out of their characters, but not in this book. Even when things are going seriously, as they do once the threat is determined, there’s a moment, on Page 14, where two characters have a believable conversation, giving a realistic layer to them. This is only my third encounter with Robyn and her friends, but I feel as if Shand is fleshing them out each time I return to them. Okay, enough characterization: Is there any action? Oh, yes. There is a stated threat, but a greater one appears on Page 16 turning all the characters’ plans into so much mush. The ending of the book is a cliffhanger in the most classic sense. This story has action, thrills, and realistic characters. Overall grade: A

The art: I freely admit to picking up this book based on the artwork. I had been unable to purchase the previous two issues of this series due to my local comic book store running out, but I was thankful to see this issue. I remembered I liked the story and the art, and if the art looked good again, I’d purchase it. And so I did. The visuals by Tony Brescini are as strong as the story. You’d have to have a heart three sizes too small not to feel sympathy for the poor cat living with such a despicable owner. That is one sad looking cat and one evil, indifferent woman. When she threw the cat I gasped. The third page is a wonderful example of hinting at something terrible rather than showing it, because the imagination will always paint a more disturbing image. Robyn’s introduction at the top of Page 4 is great, with her looking completely enraged, though wearing her civilian clothes. Her posture in the fifth panel caps off her emotional state flawlessly. The introduction of Red Riding Hood is good and the page that follows shows how comfortable Robyn and Red are with each other. The villain of the issue made me think of Paul Smith’s Storm redo from the 1980s, but it works on this character. I especially liked the character’s arm hair–nice touch of “Yeech!” The action is great, and the additional foe that appears is very creepy, but my favorite page is 14. I’m a fan of this type of layout and Brescini carries it through wonderfully. Overall grade: A

The colors: The book seemed as if it was going to be dark throughout because of the first three pages, but things brighten up considerably on Page 4. Slamet Mujiono provides a calming bright blue, which highlights the red dialogue balloon for Robyn. The book brightens further in Robyn and Marian’s apartment which has green painted walls. The flashback and the action in the city is set in dark colors, but Mujiono wisely mixes the background colors up to keep things from being a dark smudge. Examples of this can be found on Pages 16 – 20. My favorite example of Mujiono’s work is Page 16, with Britney being very bright, the antagonist being scary in subdued colors, and Robyn excellent in emerald. Overall grade: A

The letters: Cat speak, dialogue, a muttering, sounds, singing, and the story’s title are crafted by Jim Campbell. The sounds are excellent and I’m always appreciative of dialogue employing italics to tell where a character places emphasis in their speech. The KRRAKKKK was like something out of a Japanese horror movie. Overall grade A  

The final line: You should check this title out. It has a great story and some outstanding action, with believable characters. This should be a part of your monthly pull list, as it now is a part of mine. Recommended. Overall grade: A

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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