In Review: Grimm Tales of Terror #11

Average visuals hurt a story that could have been sensational.

The covers: A young woman reacts in horror to her hands which are being transformed into plant matter. Her fingers sprout flowers and wrists vines, while butterflies find her change very favorable. Good tease for the story that lurks within. This A cover is by Antonio Bifulco and Victor Bartlett, but this contains no spoilers as there is no female in danger in this tale. A much more suggestive cover is done by Abhishek Malsuni and Shashank Mishra for the B cover which has the nameless red headed hostess of this series sitting on a Victorian bed, covered in roses. However, the image becomes sinister when seeing that she wears her dark Grim Reaper cape and her scythe lays next to her. A good image for those wanting cheesecake with their terror. The C is another EC Comics inspired cover by Eric J. and Ylenia Di Napoli. Underneath the familiar masthead of that classic comic series a young man is being dragged backwards into the maw of a giant planet. Audrey II this ain’t, but it’s still good! I’d buy it, if I could find one–these EC Comics covers are next to impossible to find. The final cover, the D, is an exclusive Denver Comics Con limited to 500 copies, featuring art by Jason Cardy. This is a gorgeous cover with the red headed narrator sporting a cowboy hat and barely a blue top, panties, and boots, riding a demonic horse. I know it sounds odd, but cute does sum this up nicely. Overall grades: A A, B B, C A, and D A 

The story: In the Green Thumb hardware store, a woman named Molly is looking for the right kind of shovel. Keres, the hostest of this series, is dressed as an employee and asks the shopper if she needs help. Molly’s in a hurry and wonders what would be best to plant some things where the ground is firm. The red head grabs the woman’s hand and says, “You know, another customer was just telling me a story about proper plant care. Funny. Would you like to hear it?” Her tale begins with Dean, and friend Max in tow, going to visit Dr. Rappaccini, a world famous botanist, because his wife has recently died. The only person to console him is his daughter, but Dean idolizes the man and wants to make sure he’s okay. Once at the enormous mansion, whose entrance is decked out in flora, the doctor tells them they should go. “It’s really not the best time, Dean.” This story by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, written by Steve Yockey, becomes a question of what’s going on and how are these boys going to be in peril. Obviously plants are involved, given the doctor’s field (pun intended) but it’s the how that will keep readers turning pages. The ending is good and if one goes back to reread the story, hints were everywhere; it’s the best kind of story when all the clues were before a reader and if they’d paid attention they’d have know what was going to happen. The issue ends with Molly back in the store receiving a heavy dose of karma, though, based on previous issues, this wasn’t surprising. Overall grade: B+

The art: Vincenzo Riccardi’s character work is good. Molly looks sympathetic, Keres is attractive and sinister in her stance, and Dean and Max look good. Dr. Rappaccini also looks fine, and could be a dead ringer for Ernest Hemingway in his later years. The settings are fine, with the Green Thumb being really well detailed and the interior of Rappaccini’s home being lush. I especially like the use of wallpaper in the house. That said, the flower and garden word needs some work. For a story that leans heavily on what the plants should look like, they are too simplistic. A good job is done on Page 11, but every other time a flower appears, and it is often, they don’t look believable. They’re too cartoonish. For example, the reveal of the doctor’s home has several flowers in the entrance, yet they don’t overwhelm as they should in number or design. This is an error considering their importance to the story. On Page 12 there are too many green bushes and not enough flowers. The horror that arises is well done, but what happens on Page 20 is missing some steps. It is not clear between panels three and four what’s happened, forcing the reader to fill in the blanks themselves, and even I have some questions about what’s occurred. The ending with Molly is good and Keres’ last two panels are good. If it weren’t for the flowers, this would have been good. Overall grade: C

The colors: Though this book is set at night, in both bookend pieces and the main story, there’s not enough that stands out with the colors. Fran Gamboa and J.C. Ruiz worked on this book, but it’s not specified who did what, so I’m going to have to reference pages for citations. The first panel has some excellent outside lighting on the Green Thumb and the hair shades on Keres are well done. The first panel on Page 2 and the last panel on 3 have the best shadings for the opening. Pages 4 – 7 are just too violet to suggest night. The dash should have provided more light and highlighted the characters better. Once inside Rappaccini’s, the colors used suggest age and they are great, with the wallpaper being a standout. Page 9 has the brightest and best variety of colors in the book, but by 10 the colors are limited to red and green for flowers. They are just too similar to cause readers any consternation. The overuse of violets return when the action returns to the outdoors, but things improve dramatically back at the Green Thumb. This is a real mixed bag. Overall grade: C 

The letters: Signage, Keres’ dialogue, dialogue, a book’s title, a scream, and a yell are all planted by Fabio Amelia. The dialogue of the hostess looks the best with the signage also being impressive. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Average visuals hurt a story that could have been sensational. This will fill your need for a tale of terror, but it won’t be one you remember. Overall grade: C+

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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