In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #1

Start here and you won't be disappointed. Recommended.

The covers: There are twelve different covers for this reboot to Zenescope’s flagship title. The A cover is by David Finch and Ivan Nunes and features Britney Waters walking down a street with a slight smile on her face and her sword in her hand as a werewolf begins to howl ferociously behind her. Nice image that captures the Little Red Riding Hood vibe — she looks strong and the monster looks dangerous. Good colors on this too with her costume looking very much like leather. The B cover hails from Eric Basaldua and Ula Mos. This showcases this book’s protagonist Skye Mathers looking very much like Snow White as she holds an apple out to the reader. She looks appropriately young, she’s beautiful, and there’s a good amount of detail in this cover, with the coloring making this image pop out against the competition. I would have picked this cover up if it had been in my local store. Greg Horn provides the sexy cover on the C which has Britney wearing a much more revealing outfit, down on her hands and knees. However she’s not alone — there’s a big wolf on the page and he’d take a reader out if he or she got hostile toward Britney. The D shows Skye much more powerfully, bearing a sword in her right hand and a burst of energy powering up in her left. Behind her is an enormous werewolf that looks as though it’s aiding her. Great cover from Talent Caldwell and Nunes. The E cover is by Josh Burns and features a female character I can’t identify wearing a school girl uniform with her hands wrapped around her sides. That might sound seductive, but she’s powering up energy in both hands and she’s created a supernatural swell that’s causing a mist to swirl around her and her flowing hair. Great frontpiece from Burns. There are seven additional covers, but I couldn’t find all of their images. I’ll list what they entail for those completists: a Diamond Foil Exclusive limited to 1200 copies by Basaldua and Mos; a Diamond Exclusive limited to 1000 by Finch and Nunes; a Grimm Box Exclusive limited to 400 by Sean Chen and Mos; a Zenescope Exclusive limited to 250 by Basaldua and Mos; a Blank Sketch cover limited to 300 copies; a Holiday Exclusive limited to 350 copies by Mike DeBalfo, Jeremy Clark, and Sanju Nivangune. This features Skye in a green low cut dress with Christmas lights wrapped around her as she sits among some presents. It’s cuts. There’s another Holiday Exclusive by the same trio, though limited to 100 copies. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A, D A, and E A 

The story: “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” by Zenescope co-founder Joe Brusha opens with a one page summary of “The story so far…” which chronicles how the Zenescope universe is laid out and how Sela Mathers was the Guardian of the Nexus, and now her daughter Skye holds the title. Western Indiana then becomes the new setting and Tina Walters is walking her friend Sam back to her dorm. They have a light conversation and Sam says she’s good for the rest of the way. They part and Tina begins the walk to her apartment in the dark. She hears a crack behind her, followed by an enormous growl. She turns and sees a werewolf which begins to chase her. The result of this chase is graphic, to say the least. The story then moves to Arcane Acre where Skye is having a conversation with Shang about the magical book she now owns as the Guardian. The book reveals something to her in her bedroom and Skye is soon in Indiana. Brusha has written an entertaining story for readers old and new. Avid readers of the previous Grimm Fairy Tales series will have no problem following along and new readers won’t be lost in the previous history of the series. There’s a good mystery that Skye has to solve and the reader follows her on her quest to find out what’s going on. There’s a good action sequence and the resolution is very satisfactory. The final page has a plot thread that will hook readers to return. This was a good first issue. Overall grade: A

The art: Ediano Silva is the penciller for this issue and he is awesome. I knew by the second page that this was going to be a well drawn book because Silva has taken a rather mundane sequence, two girls walking home in the dark, and made it very engaging. He establishes both characters on Page 2 well, creates realistic movements for them as they walk, and creates some lush backgrounds for these individuals, such as in the third and fourth panels. When Tina is on her own Silva begins to tilt the point of view to establish how something is “not right” with the situation. The close up of Tina at the bottom of 3 is extremely strong. The reveal of the werewolf on the fourth page is a full page splash and is a surprising image, much as it is to poor Tina. The bottom of Page 6 is just flat out brilliant. When Silva deals with the legwork portion of the story, when Skye is trying to get intel on the wolf, he makes the pages and panels interesting. The back and forth between the characters, such as meeting Simmons, is presented much like a television drama, with the point of view going back and forth between the speakers. The action pages are very well done, with the werewolf looking fearsome and Skye looking powerful in her first official outing as the Guardian. I really liked how Silva illustrated the magical energy emanating from her left hand. This has me looking forward to Silva illustrating more magic users in this series. I really like what Silva did for this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The work done by Ivan Nunes on this book is sensational. When the two women are walking in the dark he uses a dark blue-green to simulate the evening, rather than blacken out the artwork in ebony. When the first sound is heard by Tina it’s highlighted by a bright yellow, which is repeated for when the creature bellows a growl. The final panel on Page 6 is a spectacular job, providing highlights on the creature so that it’s recognizable, but having just enough in the darkness to remind the reader of the time of this terror. The light coming into rooms is wonderfully created on 7 and 8. The blending of colors on characters’ flesh makes them appear three dimensional. The highlight of Nunes’s work on this book is when Skye creates magical outbursts that are powerful in violet. Wow isn’t strong enough a word. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios provides the lettering on this book and he, too, did a sensational job. He creates the opening four words, narration, yells, dialogue, scene settings, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, screams, and the tease for next issue. The sounds are super and the narration differed from the dialogue, something I always want to see in a book. The story’s title and credits are really small, however. Esposito is not given much room to place them on 6. The artwork seemed to have lent itself better to have them on the splash on 4, but he was obviously told to insert them on 4. Esposito is much better than this, which is a minor nit on an outstanding job. Overall grade: A- 

The final line: This is a sensational first issue that has the series reborn with a new hero. Start here and you won’t be disappointed. Recommended. 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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