In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #124

Superior in every possible way.

The covers: A trio to track down on this penultimate issue in this long running series, and the A cover is a very somber one. Abhishek Malsuni and Neeraj Menon have four students in a graveyard, dressed for a funeral, staring down at a casket that has flowers on top of it. I’ve used this cover for the image to accompany this review, and if one is familiar with this series, one can make who’s there and who isn’t, so I won’t spoil whose service this is. A great image with some great colors. I really like this. The B cover is a dramatic frontpiece with Wulf standing before the Kraken and looking absolutely minuscule. Talk about your heroic poses — one man against a monster. It’s a classic theme and Jose Luis and Grostieta do a great job on it. The final cover, the C, is by Billy Tucci and Wes Hartman. It showcases Bloody Mary. Her skeletal facepaint is an extremely popular look over the last few years and I can understand why it was chosen to be on this book. Her make up and top is cool, but the rest of her body looks out of proportion to her head. Overall grades: A A, B A, and C C-

The story: Bloody Bones asks the ghostly pirate if the Kraken will kill only those students that he’s deemed appropriate, and he’s told the creature will defend itself, but will do as it is told. The Warlord of Oz appears, seeking the war that the antagonist has promised him. Voodoo possesses a newer, younger body and states it feels like he’s gone home. After this, Bones tells the Warlord he will get his war. Meanwhile, at the Emerald City in the Realm of Oz, Sela and Belinda get an audience with Queen Dorothy Gale to ask for the Veridian Scepter to stop Belinda’s son, the Warlord. The Queen is reluctant, but Belinda tells her, “I tried to save him, and I failed. Now, believe me when I say that I know what has to be done…and I will do it.” The Queen silently looks upon the pleading mother, and writer Pat Shand leaves this plot line dangling to return to the students battling the Kraken. This battle is what makes up the majority of the issue and it’s deservedly so. With a monster this huge there’s plenty for each student to get some time taking a swing or slash at the creature. I was glad that Shand had one character taken out almost immediately; not because of my dislike for the character (I don’t), but this is a good way to show that some individuals are just going to be taken out quickly. The taking out of another character on Page 8 is also fairly quick, but I liked seeing that this person can rejoin the fray, but a moment is needed to regain his legs, so to speak. Even Cheshire Cat is in on the action, though he’s still in his puny Earth size. This being the second-to-last issue, Shand has the opportunity to do something major, and 10 has this occur: it’s a gasp inducing moment. With the memories shown on Page 12, I knew that this character would fall, and what a way to go! The dialogue on 15 is horribly sad. As if there weren’t any more shocks in this issue, the final three pages are screamers. Yes, the major death in this issue hit me hard, but the ending of this issue will leave the reader stunned. There’s only one more issue to go, and you do this, Mr. Shand? I love you and hate you for doing that! This was an outstanding story. Overall grade: A+

The art: In my review of the previous issue, I praised the work of artist Salvatore Cuffari. It’s going to be more of the same for this issue because he’s continuing to make this a gorgeous book. Bloody Bones makes only a fleeting appearance in this issue, but he’s terrific, looking happily evil and entirely grotesque. The body that Voodoo occupies before getting an upgrade is wonderfully decrepit. The first panel on Page 4 has Queen Dorothy looking great, but she looks even better in the textless panel that ends the page, leaving the reader to try and discern her thoughts. When the students swing into action to fight the Kraken at the bottom of 5 they all look great; I swear, all that’s missing is “Avengers, assemble!” I really liked seeing one character’s abilities in action in the fourth panel on 7, since they haven’t been shown on a large scale fight. There’s another textless panel, this time ending 9, and Cuffari captures so much in that character’s face; the reader knows exactly what’s going to happen. The startling action on 10 is done in silhouette, and that’s the right thing to do; it’s a very graphic moment, and is more suited to be shown in Wonderland than in this book. The flashbacks on 12 were setting up the reader for a fall, and fall that character does. There’s very little dialogue on 12 and 13, but there’s so much action communicated so well, words would not increase the drama. However, Cuffari masterfully matches the dialogue for 15 — what a moment! I thought there would be no topping these visuals for drama, but the story goes in an unexpected direction on 20, again with few sounds and some incomprehensible dialogue, so the reader must depend on the visuals to tell this part of the story, and they do. It’s stunning. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Erick Arciniega shows on the first page that this book is going to be colored outstandingly. Terrifically horrible blood reds for Bloody Bones, eerie blues on the Kraken, ghastly greens for the ghost pirate, and warm pinks for the victimized coven. Scene setting balloons are given a neat aged orange to make the story more like a classic tale. The Kraken dominates much of the book and it has a terrific slimy blue-green to remind the reader of this beast’s home. Sounds pop out well during the fight, often in yellow or white, and when the battle becomes a fight to the death for one character the sounds become pink and then stellar in crimson, matching the grisly scene. The third panel on Page 19 is my favorite and it’s in shadows, allowing for some sweet foreshadowing (no pun intended) that I wasn’t smart enough to pick up on until it was too late. An exceptional job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The outstanding Ghost Glyph Studios continue to shine on this series. They create a unique speech font for Bloody Bones, dialogue for the Warlord of Oz, yells, scene settings, sounds, Cheshire Cat vocalizations (with the one at the top of 9 perfect!), the final words from a dying character, profanity, an untranslatable spell, and the tease for the final issue. The wide range of fonts is stunning and each perfectly suits the character or action. I love the classy look of the scene settings and the spell on 21 is fantastic. I couldn’t tell if it was just gobbledygook, but it’s done in a way that seems completely plausible. Ghost Glyph Studios is tops! Overall grade: A+

The final line: If this is the penultimate issue before the series closes, what the heck is planned for the finale? Superior in every possible way. I was already unhappy that this title was ending, but with this issue I’m already a wreck. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order this book and Grimm Fairy Tales collections go to https://shop.zenescope.com/

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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