In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales presents White Queen #2

Liddie has made a decision and it's a good read, though some visuals brought the book down.

The covers: A trio of covers each showing a different player in this limited series. The A cover is by Paolo Pantelena and Ula Mos. It shows the Dark Queen with the necklace that allows her to control Violet, thereby having Callie Liddle, the White Queen, under her thumb. Amazing work by Pantelena on the Queen’s costume. The headdress is lavish and the details on her evil barely-there clothes are strong. The composition is also well done, clearing showing the necklace and how it holds Violet. Beautiful coloring by Mos with the bright flecks of red in the Queen’s flowing cape outstanding. Sabine Rich does the B cover which has Liddie looking regal holding her staff, her scarves billowing about, with the fearsome Cheshire next to her; all set against a gorgeous orange-yellow sky. Excellently done with the colors being particularly strong. The Trickster appears on the C by Billy Tucci and Ivan Nunes. She’s barely in her costume as she struts by in her high heels with the New York skyline behind her. Great drawing with some fine work in her costume and, again, excellent colors. The sky makes its seem this rogue has set the city aflame. Overall grades: A A+, B A, and C A-

The story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Troy Brownfield conjured this story, with Brownfield ultimately writing it. “Callie Liddle knows desperation,” begins this issue titled “What Callie Found There.” She’s using an axe on a tree to work out some of her frustration at feeling boxed in by the Dark Queen. Cheshire Cat suggests that there are two things about the Dark Queen that seem possible: one, something is keeping the DQ from taking control of Wonderland, or two, she’s afraid of Liddie. The killer feline then suggests that Liddie think about what she knows for sure about this villain. This gives her an idea, which is interrupted by the untimely arrival of several cards. Not helping is the arrival of another group, who appear to have been summoned by a continuing thorn in their sides. I was overjoyed at the transition between Pages 10 and 11. The situation didn’t call for what happens in between to be shown, as Liddie’s goal is to get somewhere to do something specific. What’s done at this location was very interesting and I liked seeing all the characters that appeared. I’ve never encountered these individuals before, but Brownfield’s writing is so smooth I instantly knew who was who and what was going on. The banter between the protagonists is fun and the ending is a slick cliffhanger that will have me anxiously awaiting this battle’s outcome. A fun, character driven read. Overall grade: A

The art: Nice work from Luca Claretti on this book. Forests are a tough location in comics. I’m impressed with any artist that can do a good job on them, and Claretti does. Liddie looks good, going through a lot of different emotions in this issue, starting with frustration (Page 1), realization (4), humorous surprise (7 and 9), and decisiveness (21). I like her the best on Page 13 because she’s using her magical abilities. Cheshire also looks good, though he doesn’t get any action in this issue–the story needs him to prowl about and speak, and he does so. The characters that appear at the end (No spoilers!) look really good, with the individual on 17 gorgeously ginormous. What’s not working for me are the nameless combatants that challenge Liddie. They first appear on Page 7, and I know that Claretti had to pull back to show their vast numbers, but even in close-up they’re really sketchy. Things don’t improve for the arrivals on 8, and they should have been shown much closer, because their strength is really diminished by being so far from the reader. The numbers increase on 9 and everyone goes faceless. These three pages hurt my enjoyment of the visuals. The rest of the book looks good, but these three pages disappointed. Overall grade: B

The colors: For a book set in a forest, Leonardo Paciarotti uses every shade of green known to make the background always engaging. Pages 2 and 3 show how smartly he colors the surroundings, and Liddie and Cheshire pop due to their own coloring. It was wise of Paciarotti to use lovely blues for the skies, which make the forest more real. I also am taken by how he colors characters’ flesh. Page 4 shows how his coloring of faces and bare arms looks great. My favorite colors are the lime greens used when Liddie uses her magic. I love when magic is that color and by making it that sickly green makes her conjuring seem dangerous. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, title and story, human dialogue, Cheshire dialogue, Dark Queen speak, yells, sounds, and a specific creature’s font are crafted by Charles Pritchett. I loved the creature’s dialogue at the end of the issue, making it removed from humans simply through its speech. I had issues with Cheshire’s dialogue. I know that it’s slightly different from Liddie’s, to make it unique–which it should be, but it came off a little blurry at times. That could be my age, but I found myself pulling the comic away from me so I could read it more clearly. Overall grade: B

The final line: Liddie has made a decision and it’s a good read, though some visuals brought the book down. Still, a fun read and I’m looking forward to the conclusion next month. 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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