In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents The Little Mermaid #2

I want the adventures of the Little Mermaid, not her mom and dad.

The covers: You’ll be flipping your fins all over the place if you’re going to track down all six different covers to this comic. The A cover is drawn by Ed Benes and colored by Claudinei Ribeiro. It’s a great image of a mermaid appearing out of the water. Benes has created a beautiful illustration and Ribeiro has colored it wonderfully in bright colors, with an excellent job on the clouds and the mermaid’s skin and scales. I don’t think this is the title character Erika because this character’s hair is brunette with violet streaks, while the heroine of this series is blonde. The next cover, the B, is the image that’s been used the most to promote this issue–a giant cylindrical tank in a laboratory containing the mermaid, whose hands are bound and is obviously uncomfortable with all the wires and tubes going into her. Creepy image that will damage any child that’s a fan of the Disney film, and that’s why I like it. Excellent job by Mike Krome and Ula Mos. Paolo Pantalena and Mos has the Sea Witch looking ready to grasp the King of Atlantis and his busty blonde beauty as they embrace. Nice thematic cover for the C, but the girl is really too overly developed to be Elizabeth. It’s good art, with great coloring, but not representational of what’s in this book. The Super Rare Retailer Variant, the uncredited D cover on the inside cover, is the exact same art as the A cover, but Ribeiro has changed the coloring to make it night. Just as beautiful as the A cover. There are also two Calgary Comic Con Exclusives, both drawn by Franchesco! with colors by Sabine Rich. I couldn’t find an image of either online, so good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A+, B A-, C B-, and D A+

The story: I’m not thrilled that only five pages of this twenty-two page story are about the Little Mermaid. The rest of the book is a flashback showing how her mother and father got together. The drama of the book is what horrors the title character is enduring, and why she is enduring them, but writer Meredith Finch, from a story by Joe Brusha, spends too little time with Erica. Titled “Hope,” this issue opens where the previous ended, with Erica strapped to a table with a robotic needle going into her. It does go in and then the story goes twenty years into the past just after her mother’s shipwreck. She’s hired a boat to take her around the harbor to see if she can spot the merman, Issoro, that saved her. She cannot because he’s hiding behind a rock, happy that this human is searching for him. He returns to Atlantis where his father, the king, is not happy he’s been to the surface again. The next nine pages sadly follow the plot of the Disney film too closely to be of interest. A brief interruption in this flashback has one scientist stating to the lead scientist that she may not be able to handle any more of their tests. It’s easy to guess, based on his character design, what his response will be. Back to the flashback, with a predictable four pages. Finally, the last three return to Erica, with a glimmer of hope in her escape, and the evil scientist consulting with his master. It’s only the second issue, but this installment could seemingly be skipped and nothing lost in Erika’s tale. Overall grade: D+

The art: The visuals on this book are by Miguel Mendonca. His leads are attractive (Elizabeth on 16; Issoro on 3, 4, 8 – 10, 16, and 18; the King on 7; Olivia on 11; and the Sea Witch on 14 and 19). The evil scientist looks like someone out of a manga. He only has two facial gestures–mouth closed or mouth open with teeth closed. I can’t really comment on Erika’s look because she’s only seen laying on a table this issue in close-up or from the side. The settings are really strong in this issue. Rocky outcroppings can be a difficult element in artwork, sometimes looking like a blob with lines, but Mendonca does a really good job on them on Pages 2 – 4. Page 5 is the showstopper visual of the issue with Issoro’s approach to Atlantis. This is an incredibly well detailed setting, worthy of being called a kingdom. The king’s throne is also nicely done. The entrance to the Sea Witch’s lair is exactly the same as the one shown in the Disney movie. I wish it had been a little more different. I’m riding highs and some slight lows on the look of this comic. Overall grade: B

The colors: This is some absolutely stellar work from Jorge Alberto Cortes. Page 2 is breathtaking. As I was writing this review my thirteen year old daughter came up to ask me a question and saw this page open in front of me. She said, “Wow. That’s beautiful.” I then flipped to Page 19 and she cooed over the colors on the Sea Witch. “Out of the mouth of babes…” The visuals on this book really soar because of Cortes’s contributions. The water and sky are tremendous and Atlantis and its corridors are fantastic. His blending on characters’ skin, and there’s a lot of it showing on the males, is excellently blended to create shading. I also like how colors are used in one character’s dialogue balloons to make this individual stand out. Exceptionally strong work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, screams, yells, scene setting, and a transmission are done by Ghost Glyph Studios. They do a good job on everything, especially on the first page’s scream and the scene settings that are introduced on Page 2. Overall grade: A

The final line: A mixed bag. I want the adventures of the Little Mermaid, not her mom and dad. I’ll be happy if the focus turns in the next issue. 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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