In Review: Snow White One-Shot

A good introduction to one of Zenescope's lead characters, but an undefined villain and average visuals undercut its anniversary status.

The covers: Snow White is surrounded by seven short demonic men armed with knives, so she has to defend herself with a sword. Nice action illustration by Ken Lashley with colors by Sabine Rich on this 10th Anniversary Special A cover. If you’ve never read a Snow White comic from Zenescope, this image might be surprising, but this is what she does and she does it well. The B is by Dheeraj Verma with colors by David Delanty. This cover features Sela unconscious on the floor, while the deviant little men approach. A good cover, reminiscent of exploitation covers and posters of the 60s through 80s. Really nice coloring on this, especially with the reds on the first dwarf. The C cover is by Franchesco! and it’s a pin-up cover of Sela wearing her corset top, a gold metal bikini bottom, and black stockings. She looks at the reader in a seductive pose as she removes her glasses. Franchesco! is good at this type of illustration and he has created another great cover. He does an excellent job on the reflective and shiny aspects of her clothes, such as the top, the bikini bottom, and her pumps. There’s also a Phoenix Comic Con Exclusive, the D cover, by Elias Chatzoudis limited to 250 copies. Chatzoudis is no stranger to also doing good girl covers, with this one having Sela wearing a torn tee shirt bearing the word Arizona, which barely covers her chest, and red bikini shorts. She holds a football behind her and she’s against a white backdrop that features the Phoenix Comic Con logo. It’s an attractive image, there’s no denying it. Overall grades: A B+, B B-, C A, and D A

The story: In the Tillamook State Forest in Oregon some treecutters are at work when one of their falling trees almost lands atop a little man with an orange beard. They berate him for almost getting himself killed, but he says he’s there to help. He shows them the hatchet he has with him and the pair of lumberjacks laugh. When they ask what he thinks he can do with such a small tool, his eyes go red and his teeth sharp as he answers, “I cut limbs with it.” Six additional little men appear out of the forest, all with similar eyes, teeth, and weapons. The first dwarf asks where the huntsman is, though neither know what he’s talking about. A hatchet is raised and is swung into one of the men’s skulls. Just then a larger man appears with lunch, causing the head dwarf to say, “Ah, Jacob. There you are. We’ve been looking for you. Take him!” The dwarves spring upon him and he’s quickly overcome. A man who looks like a young college professor emerges from forest with a leather bound book. He says he’s a collector and “I’ve come to collect you, Jacob.” He opens the book which produces a yellow glow from its pages and Jacob is drawn into the book. This introduction by writer Lou Iovino, from a story by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, starts well and gives readers new to Sela, aka Snow, enough information into her past without overwhelming them. I like the scenes with the fairy tales in the modern world that the Binder is collecting and I’m liking the evil dwarves. The action sequences are good and the unexpected inclusion of an additional young character into Sela’s adventure was nice. The issue ends at Arcane Acre, which is where the Grimm Fairy Tales series is set, so this is a nice way for readers to get a taste of what that book has to offer. However, much is not explained for the villain’s motivation, outside of a five word dialogue balloon. His history is not explained prior to his quest, nor what his plans are once he achieves his goals, how he discovered his abilities, nor how he has the dwarves under his control. If a reader can’t understand wy the baddie is doing what he or she is doing, then it’s a Villain of the Month Club antagonist. Once character does a get major bump up in abilities, but there was too much about the villain that’s questionable. Overall grade: B-

The art: Manuel Preitano provides the visuals and they’re okay. He’s more of a character artist than a setting illustrator, as the first page shows. His lumberjacks look fine, but the trees, in the foreground and background, are suggestions rather than realized. The first appearance of the dwarf is a bit of a mixed bag, with the body looking fine but there are issues with hair, top and facial. The second page shows the men looking good and the dwarf much improved. In fact, his evil dwarves look great and reminded me of the final look for characters that have changed into vampires from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Preitano can also move around well in this panels: take a look at the third panel on Page 3, and all of 10 and 11. He’s also fond of oddly shaped panels, such as Page 4, and these turned out very well, giving readers a manifestation of the askew nature of the story. However, it doesn’t work on Pages 12 and 13, or pages that follow, because he’s framed a few of the panels in a thick border that resembles a mirror. Given the nature of mirrors in fairy tales, each time I encountered one of these panels I assumed I was looking at the image in a looking glass, but that’s never the case. Preitano also leaves a lot of empty space on pages with these bordered panels, which works on 13 but not on 12. This is decent, but not outstanding, work. Overall grade: C+

The colors: For a book that involves modern day takes on fairy tales I would expect the colors to be much brighter than what Viviane Tybusch does. Having been to Oregon, yes, those are some of the colors one would see, but it’s too drab. When the dwarves go evil, their backgrounds go really dark, so shouldn’t their coloring have been lightened to make them stand out more? The coloring on the flashback is appropriately colored, but the scenes in the Myst are just as drab as Oregon. The only time a bright color appears in this book is when magic is cast, and then it’s usually yellow. Brighter colors would have helped this book enormously. Overall grade: C 

The letters: Scene setting, sounds, dialogue, yells, and screams are crafted by Saida Temofonte. All look good, but special attention should be given to the sounds, which are varied and perfect for their moments, such as the laughter, SHHLUNK, CRUNCH, SNAP, and NOOOOOOOO! in the opening pages. Overall grade: A 

The final line: A good introduction to one of Zenescope’s lead characters, but an undefined villain and average visuals undercut its anniversary status. 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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