In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents Robyn Hood #6

I enjoyed reading it, but wanted the visuals to be stronger.

The covers: A trio to place in your quiver before you take off. The A cover is by Jason Metcalf and Victor Bartlett. Robyn and Marian stand with weapons ready (bow and baseball bat) to do battle with evil. Nice representational shot of the two leads with some really nice coloring, especially on the backgrounds. Good job. Alfredo Reyes and Bartlett do the B cover which has a preview of what happens within: Robyn is on a psychiatrist’s couch, spilling some sort of details of her life, as a familiar looking shrink listens. Good layout and coloring on this, though I doubt Robyn would show up in costume. The C cover by Cris Delara was the one I had to purchase. This features Avella ready for action, her tattoos glowing on her body. Primitive powerful. Overall grades: A A-, B B+, and C A

The story: This is a good entry point story for new readers. This is subtitled “A Maid Marian Mystery” even though there’s not really a mystery and Robyn is at least half of the story. The book opens with Marian on the floor trying to cast a spell for a client. She’s having a little difficulty in casting it; she thinks, “It’s ironic…that embracing this world seems to have weakened my connection to the magic of Myst.” After she’s finished the spell, she plays with her cats as Robyn is asleep on the sofa, dreaming of a lost love that morphs into someone unexpected. That morning the two go their separate ways and encounter different problems. This was a good way by writer Pat Shand to show how the characters are/are not adapting to Earth and what their desires are. I preferred Marian’s story more than Robyn’s because the quick glimpse of the person that’s following her on Page 8 told me exactly where her story was going to go. Marian’s story was more of a personal revelation and gave a better insight into her character. The group behind this issue’s villain makes an appearance and in the process show a character that’s been mentioned but not seen. That was pretty neat. The book ends with Marian and Robyn having an honest conversation that I wouldn’t expect from many comic books. Usually the characters are stuck lying to their friends for several months, but Shand takes this in a different direction, and that made me enjoy the story, the characters, and the writer more. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals are okay in this book. Some panels and pages are better than others, but as a whole it’s good. Jaime Salangsang, Jr. creates some really neat perspective shots. The opening splash page is a good example of this. Everything you need to know about the leads’ current state is all there. I really like the satisfied smile and point of view shot in the third panel on Page 3. When the book follows both lead’s stories at the same time Salangsang lays out the pages nicely to allow an easy bouncing back and forth between them. I also like how the leads are attractive, but believable; they’re not pin-up models–they’re real people. I liked the designs of the characters that each goes to see, but the environment that Robyn is in is pretty plain. Granted, I’ve never been to such a place, but I would go mad in such an empty environment. Marian’s location is much more interesting. When the action begins, it’s foreshadowed by the image on Page 8 and cemented with a splash on Page 13. This last page is too empty. Yes, the reader’s eye will go down to see what there is to see, but Salangsang should have pulled in much tighter to the individual or reversed the image so that it’s shown from his point of view. The design of the creature that battles Robyn is cool, but I don’t know how such a creature could have been so compacted to fit into its costume on 8. I liked the characters and some of the settings, but the majority of the settings are too plain. The colorist is tasked with filling them. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Good work is done by Slamet Mujiono on this book. I like the bright colors made possible by the story being set in the daytime, unlike the previous issues, and it was so nice to see the characters in this light (pun not intended). I really liked the strong colors for the characters’ flesh. This was really nicely done and made the art pop.  However, with backgrounds being empty in the majority of shots, a solid color is employed. It would be normal in the real world, but for a comic it made things really drab, especially in Robyn’s settings. There’s the occasional speed bump, such as the first page being overly dark, and then brightening considerably when characters are shown in close-up, but the work is better than average. Overall grade: B

The letters: Opening title, dialogue, narration, and few sounds are done by Jim Campbell. I was happy to see that he employs a different font for the dialogue and narration, but this book seemed like it had a really tiny font for everything. I wear glasses, but I felt like I was straining to read the text. This also made the emptiness of the backgrounds stand out stronger. Overall grade: B

The final line: Good story, with okay visuals. I enjoyed reading it, but wanted the visuals to be stronger. 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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