In Review: Grimm Tales of Terror #10

The conclusion does not live up to the build.

The covers: This issue will have you searching every haunted locale to find the three covers for this installment. The EC Comics inspired A cover comes courtesy of Eric J and Sean Ellery. Underneath the iconic red mast that contains the title, an image is shown of “The Haunted Manor.” It’s a Victorian house set in the woods, isolated from any other structure. It’s a good illustration of a possibly haunted house, but there’s too much space devoted to the grounds, which makes up almost half of the image. The colors are dark and dingy, making the reds at the top stand out even more. The B cover is by Anthony Spay and Jorge Cortes. This features a young boy, under ten, looking out the window of his front door and be greeted by a monster. This is great image, but has absolutely nothing to do with the story, except a little boy being an important character. The monster looks cool, though. There’s terror, but no justification. Maria Laura Sanapo and Vinicius Andrade are responsible for the C cover and this features the narrator of this series, Keres, walking up a stairwell in an old house. Rather than there being a doorway or hallway at the top of the stairs there’s a gaping maw with swirling yellow and orange energy within it. Sanapo has become a master in illustrating Keres and inserting her with just enough elements of the story that can be found within each issue. Andrade is an outstanding colorist, making the surroundings look realistic in worn browns, while the background radiates evil with its colors. Keres is also well colored, with her hair looking terrific. Overall grades: A C+, B B, and C A

The story: I’m continually impressed that the writers are Zenescope are ready to take on the challenge of telling new stories around classic horror tropes, and this issue is the granddaddy of all tropes: “The Haunted Manor.” Reporter Louis Plaza is not happy with his job working fluff pieces for his local broadcaster. “I have a master’s in journalism from the Bete Institute. I — I thought I’d be working on stories of substance.” He’s told by his boss that he’ll listen to any pitch, but “We don’t do hashtag journalism here.” Driving around later, Plaza’s phone goes dead, so he asks for directions. He encounters an attractive redhead who’s waiting to go into Islip Manor. Recognizing him from television, she suggests that his place might make for an interesting story. If only he knew that it was Keres he was speaking with, he might have just continued on his way. Back at his place, he goes online to find out the backstory of this supposed haunted manor. He takes the story to his boss, who says he’ll go along with it if there’s any substance. If so, “then maybe — maybe — we can cover it.” Plaza makes a beeline to the manor where tours are conducted during the day. He sees all there is to see, ultimately finding himself not impressed with what’s shown and said. Page 7 has Plaza doing something that would make a movie audience yell at the screen. Ralph Tedesco and Pat Shand are the writers of this issue, crafting the story with Joe Brusha. The lead up for this story is good, giving a nice justification to get the protagonist into this supernatural location. The character that appears at the bottom of 7 is reason enough for the lead to turn tail. The action on 8 is realistic, gross, and just enough to start to put the reader in a state of unease. Plaza’s behavior on 15 didn’t ring true; given what’s happened at this home and where he currently is, he’s just too calm. This should be the moment when the terror in the title comes forth. Page 18 – 21 are creepy, but there’s not enough backstory given why these events are occurring. I can roll with most stories, but this ultimately ends up as a “This is just the way it is” story. This kept me at distance from all the characters and left me feeling blase to the entire story. It started out fine, but left me indifferent. Overall grade: C

The art: This is one of the better illustrated Grimm Tales of Terror that I’ve read. It’s easy to see from just the first page that Sami Kivela knows how to create reality on the page. The montage that starts the book nicely shows Plaza’s dissatisfaction with his stories. The middle of the page shows Plaza facing his boss, and his posture (arms crossed, legs crossed, and chair slightly tilted) shows him to be absolutely furious at his situation. The top of Page 3 has an excellently detailed apartment for Plaza. The bottom of the page turns the point of view to show that Plaza is taking copious notes on his possible story. When the hosts for the house are shown on 5 their slight smiles are enough to make them instantly suspicious to the reader. 7 employs six panels to show Plaza making his way through the house quickly and it works wonderfully, establishing locations and creating tension, with the last panel being a startling reveal. The action on 8 is realistic but absolutely disgusting. The illustrations are so good that no text is necessary to convey what’s happened and foreshadow terror. The three posters shown in the first panel on 13 reveal Plaza not to be the innocent soul, since he’s a fan of such fare. Page 19 is a fantastic payoff; with the exception of four small panels at the bottom, this is essentially a full paged splash. The point of view of the large panel is terrific and the individuals at the top of the illustration outstanding. Being so impressed with this, I was stunned at what happens on 20 — it is not a good illustration. This page is a true full paged splash, but it’s very undefined. The background looks as though a different artist drew it — in fact, it looks like an entirely different illustrator took over for 20 and 21. The art is too loose. Look at the second panel on 21 — it’s very disappointing. This is not what should happen in a story’s climax. The final page has Kivela returning to his better style, but the climax has the visuals stumble. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Marco Lesko does a good job right out of the gate on this book. The three panels that show Plaza’s disappointment in his job has the first panel colored in striking, realistic whites, but soon there’s a tint in the second panel, which then goes to a sad violet in his last story. When Plaza’s in his apartment blues and violets instantly tell the reader that the setting is night. Notice the subtle change in backgrounds in the haunted manor; when first inside the wallpaper is a calm green that starts the tour, but in a second room the wall go rusty red when the past terror is stated. The arrival of the youngest character has panels going a sickly yellow, which foreshadow a terrible event. The reds return on 15 as the terror begins for Plaza. Lesko’s best work is on 19 — those reds are fantastic and chilling. I’m liking Lesko’s work on this. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, Keres’s unique font, computer text, a blog’s text, sounds, a phone’s electronic text, yells, and the book’s “The End” coda all hail from Fabio Amelia. This is some of the tiniest font I’ve seen in a long time. It’s readable, but — Wow! — it’s teeny tiny! Because it’s so small there were a few moments when I thought characters were whispering, but it’s just the size of the text. Keres’s speech looks cool, being an entirely different font from everyone else, and Amelia also does a good job with the many different computer fonts. Decent, but so small! Overall grade: B-

The final line: The conclusion does not live up to the build. The visuals also stumble at the same point. This could have been better. Overall grade: B-

To order this book and other Grimm Tales of Terror books 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.
No Comment

RELATED BY

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,511 other subscribers