In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #10

The warping of familiar characters continues to be creepy fun.

The covers: Eight covers for the hardcore Zenescope fans to track down! Cover A is by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes and has Skye striking a pose in a forest with her sword blazing with energy. Behind her, emerging like a ghost, is a bear standing on its rear legs. Great image with the heroine looking great, the monster scary, and the colors excellent. A solid cover. The B hails from Alfredo Reyes and Ylenia Di Napoli. This has the villainous Goldilocks next to one of the fearsome bears she commands. She’s a knockout and the bear is just different enough from a normal bear to have it stand out. Nicely done, but I’d rather see more of her and less of him. It seems as if artist Keith Garvey was reading my mind for the C cover, as the villain is alone in a quaint fairy tale bedroom. Goldilocks has her back to the reader. She has on a top hat, a gold jacket, yellow corset, black shorts, white stalkings, and black boots. She’s holding a riding crop behind her back, informing the reader that things will not go smoothly for them. Sexy. The final regular cover, the D, is by Allan Otero and Vincius Andrade. This is the most active cover, as Skye is fighting off the bears, while Goldilocks comes at her with the crop. The art is fine, but the lack of a background results in it being colored a messy gray and white, which distracts from the characters. And is it me or does Goldilocks look like Heather Graham? There is a Collector’s Pack Exclusive (limited to 150) by Elias Chatzoudis and a Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350) by Derlis Santacruz and Ula Mos, but I couldn’t find an image of either. The Secret Exclusive is by Santacruz and Mos and features Nataliya from the current Tarot series leaning into a gigantic clown mask, which looks as though it’s something from Mardi Gras. She’s turned away from the reader, revealing much of her backside, though she’s turned enough to show she has on clown make-up. The background is an empty tan wall, though there are some balloons in the upper left corner. Nice, but it would have been better with less wall and pulled in closer to the lady. The final cover is the Veterans Day Exclusive (limited to 350) also by Santacruz and Mos, featuring a gorgeous raven haired beauty wearing a grayish camouflage bikini. She’s on her knees in the desert, striking a seductive pose as a breeze blows her hair back. Yeah, it’s good. Overall grades: A A, B A-, C A+, D C+, Secret Exclusive B+, and Veterans Day Exclusive A

The story: This is a fairly long introduction for this issue, but it builds the horror well. In central Tennessee, not from the great Smokey Mountains, a circus has been set up. Two cars pull up with a young couple in one and a father, mother, and two little children in the other. They remark that the place seems empty, but still buy tickets from the ringmaster who’s in the ticket booth. He leads them inside the big top where Goldilocks is revealed in the center of the ring. She says, “Welcome my dear lowborn patrons, to the show that will stay with you for a lifetime. You don’t know this…mainly because you are lowborn…and fools…But you were born to be slaves.” The six audience members wonder if they heard correctly, but stop as soon as they see the three bears enter the ring next to her. They look deadly and soon prove themselves to be so. Joe Brusha then moves his story to a few miles away where Skye Mathers is driving. She’s thinking about all the adventures she’s had so far when her magical book directs her to the circus where she realizes something is not right. I was happy to see that she didn’t just walk into the big top, instead winding up walking into a trap. The reactions by the villains at the top of 14 are great — this isn’t done enough in books! It was also neat to see that Goldilocks respond to Skye’s inability to wield power correctly is the same as other baddies. A terrific surprise was the exit at the top of 19 because that’s not the way it’s supposed to happen, is it? The final two pages end the issue on a disturbing note with promises of a return at some point. Horror is readily apparent in this deliciously dark tale. Overall grade: A

The art: Skye looks sensational in every panel she’s in of this issue. Julius Abrera is to be congratulated for making her and Goldilocks consistently beautiful and strong. I like the introduction on 3, the change on 9, the close-up at the bottom of 11, the break out on 13, the large panel on 16, panels three and four on 17, the exit on 19, and the final panel of the book. The lowbor–er, humans also look good, with their discomfort and fear in the big top great. The bears are hit and miss. It seems that Abrera couldn’t decide to make them realistic or fanciful. Their introduction on 5 is great, but Page 6 shows one too large and awkwardly posed, plus that inserted panel is in a terribly awkward place. The last strong appearance by the bears occurs on 13, but they become almost polar bear smooth on 14 and practically clay-like in their final showing on the page. The magic is minimal in this issue, but Abrera does a solid job on it, with 18 and 19 looking sharp, especially with the portals. The last page has a structure too far from the reader, though Abrera makes up for this with the horror of the final page; the individuals in small panels look great and the large panel condemns an individual. I’m liking most of Abrera’s work, though there are instances where some tweaking could have been done. Overall grade: B 

The colors: The majority of the work by Jorge Cortes is too dark. For example, the sunset on the first page is beautiful, but everything else is too dark, leaving the reader straining to see what’s in the art. The next four pages are great, with Goldilock’s appearance being a particular highlight. I like how Cortes uses orange in the sixth panel on Page 5 to make the action extra strong. Page 6 has the background too dark, making the characters in the foreground become a blur. These overly dark colors continue until Skye makes ready for battle on 9. Things go dark again until Skye goes into action, with magic and sounds punching up the gloominess. The last two pages are the darkest of all and that’s a shame because the sense of doom could have really been intensified if the reader could have seen the visuals more clearly. Overall grade: C

The letters: Narration, dialogue, yells, scene settings, sounds, and the tease for next issue are created by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. Esposito is an exceptional letterer because he knows that narration should be a different font from the dialogue, and it is. Additionally he uses different fonts for characters’ yells. Doing so allows the reader to better “hear” the intensity of someone screaming, as there are different levels of yells. The scene settings are zippy, given a bold, slanted look that inspires a sense of urgency to continue reading. And Esposito’s sounds are perfect, with the bears’ roars tops. Another outstanding job by Esposito. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Skye continues to grow as a hero, though her abilities are not at their full strength. The story is a titch better than the visuals which are too dark at times. The warping of familiar characters continues to be creepy fun. This continues to be a series I look forward to each month. Overall grade: B+

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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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