In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #121

Everyone has their own agenda, but can they work together to stop Bloody Bones?

The covers: Four very different covers for fervent fans of Grimm Fairy Tales to track down. Ken Lashley and Hedwin Zaldivar do a very dramatic cover of Skye being drained of her power by uber-villain Bloody Bones. Even if a reader is completely unfamiliar with either character, the visuals make it easy to discern who’s the antagonist of this piece. Bloody Bones looks completely inhuman as he joyfully steals the young woman’s essence from her mouth into his. The pose of Skye’s body tells the reader that this is being down without her approval. The energy coming off of the creature’s back and the blast behind them really pumps the image up for intensity. The colors are also really strong, with B.B.’s face being very bright, since that’s what’s closest to the ingestion of her life force. Paolo Pantalena and Arif Prianto have created the B cover and it, too, is amazing. This looks to have Wulf battling a buffed up man, with Hailey providing backup for him. The detail on this cover is off the chart, with the two men looking fantastic as they fall, but still exchanging punches. Hailey is the showstopper of this issue with all the shards of ice flying from her. The coloring is also incredible, with Prianto probably gone insane from giving every shard a different shade of blue. Stunning. Sadly, this scene appears nowhere in this issue, so it might be a preview of things to come. The C cover by Jason Cardy could work on a manga book. I have no idea who this character is — Belinda? –as there’s no one in this issue that looks like this, nor is there a sword like this. The computerized blurring to create the rose in the foreground is a little overdone, but the rest of this looks great and I had to make this the image that accompanied this review. The final cover is the April Cosplay Exclusive, limited to 350 copies, illustrated by Dawn McTeague and colored by Ula Mos. This is an incredible image of a redheaded female pirate wearing a leather top, very brief leather briefs, and leather boots. She’s laying within a treasure chest, with some of the goods spilling onto the sand of the beach. She holds a pistol ready to take out anyone who wants to take her booty. Yes, I went there. This is an absolutely gorgeous cover. Overall grades: A A, B A, C A-, and Cosplay Exclusive A+

The story: The Realm Knight are flying about in one of their high tech planes trying to locate Skylar and Lance. They discover a video feed of Bloody Bones in Eldred Township looking beaten with Skye behind him. Ciampo orders them to break the sound barrier to get to that location and to contact Sela and Chang. There’s a brief flashback showing what’s occurred just before their finding the feed: Bloody Bones is choking on the part of Skye he tried to devour, while the young woman is mourning the loss of Lance, who Bones blew up last issue. Video cameras come upon Bones as he makes for the door (informing the reader they’ve now caught up with the Realm Knights from the opening). A rose grows out of the black ichor that remains of Lance. Skye gasps upon seeing it and then “something” happens. To say what occurs would be spoiling a major plot point, but it had me cheering. Pat Shand’s story, co-created by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, is working several characters into tight corners that’s leading to the near end of this series. First is Skye who’s got the ability to take out Bloody Bones; she’s so strong that he won’t go near her. Her assistant this issue also has tremendous powers hitherto not seen before. Ali’s fate in staying at Arcane Acre is brought up by the staff, which includes a listing of his offenses since being at the school. They are numerous and prompt another instructor to stand up and state what the teen has done wrong. Naturally, Ali is not going to take this and makes an outburst. Wiglaf’s comment after this outburst is perfection. One character finally leaves the school, but why this individual does so is not revealed; it will have a major impact on one of the students. The penultimate page has a pair of outcasts contacting the students, and the final page has Bloody Bones getting some support from an unforeseen group. This story is like a merry-go-round that’s beginning to spin out of control. Things are about to get even more chaotic. A good read. Overall grade: A  

The art: Manuel Preitano does a good job on this book. Things start well with the Realm Knight’s jet: its exterior and interiors are well drawn and Preitano is able to move around the cabin showing the reader every character on the mission. Bloody Bones undergoes a transformation this issue. He begins to decay given what’s happened to him previously, but Skye does something very direct to him that makes him even more ferocious, though damaged, looking. The individual that appears on Page 2 makes his entrance in a fashion somewhat similar to a very iconic character from DC Comics, but Preitano has varied it just enough to make it different. I admit to sporting a smile when looking at the final panel on 3 because it puts a character in a situation that hasn’t been seen before. The partial double-paged splash on 8 and 9 is powerful, giving these characters the punch they need when they appear. The character that exits on 13 – 15 was very cool, ending with a full paged splash that starts this individual on a new path. Page 19 has a very cool visual text piece, though the scene should have been brought in much closer to the charcters; the top half of the page is wasted on unnecessary scenery. This is the only misstep of Preitano’s work on this book; the rest looks great. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The first page and a half focuses on the Realm Knights wearing their metallic suits, sitting within their metallic plane. One would think that Erik Arciniega would have a difficult time being able to keep the characters from blending in with their environment, but that never happens; he’s able to place just the right amount of color into each element of the panels, allowing the characters to stand apart from their background. Even doubly impressive is that the bottom quarter of the first page has a similar metallic coloring for the background, yet Arciniega makes it work. Red is a key color in this issue, being the color of Bones’s eyes, his new look, and the rose that appears on 2. Characters’ skin looks great throughout, starting with the sensational work done on Shand on Page 13. Also well done is the water work done on Hailey throughout. Arciniega is doing strong work on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, magical speech, yells, computer text, scene settings, whispers, sounds, narration, Bloody Bones’s unique font, a Realm Knight’s dialogue, and the tease for next issue are done by Ghost Glyph Studios. This group has never done anything but outstanding work and this issue continues to show why they are an exemplary group that letters books. Their many different fonts allow certain characters to sound differently in a reader’s mind because of their unique construction. And the sounds are super. This is terrific work. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Everyone has their own agenda, but can they work together to stop Bloody Bones? This series is close to its conclusion and no one looks safe for its ending. A good read for long time fans. Overall grade: A

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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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