In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #107

A good entry point that has me intrigued and wanting to know more.

The covers: Sean Chen and Ylenia Di Napoli are responsible for the A cover which features a trio of characters (Haley, Violet, and Ali) looking into a book in a library. Some sort of magic wispiness is coming out of the tome, and is probably responsible for the menacing figure in a top hat that’s appeared behind them. Nice tease of what actually occurs in this book. The B cover by Pasquale Qualano and Stephen Schaffer has Jessica and Sela going after something that’s producing a lot of flame. This, too, is in this issue. Nice coloring on this cover with the blue and orange contrasting well. The C cover has Kiera Carmen going full on Phoenix from Mike Krome and Ula Mos. Kiera looks good, though her chest is much larger than how she’s shown in the comics, and the flame work is exceptional. There’s also an Ultra Rare Incentive cover that’s the D, and it’s by Martin Abel. It’s a cute cartoony version of Sela in a red teddy, sitting on a red velvet chair, surrounded by pink and red presents and hearts. A tiny cupid shoots an arrow at her. It’s cute. Overall grades: A B+, B A-, C A-, and D A

The story: This the first chapter of “Burn Your Life Down”, written by Pat Shand, conceived by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Shand. “Seven months ago…” something hit a deserted house in the middle of nowhere. “Now” has five soldiers led by Jessica going to check out what the object was. Getting close to the structure, their devices start to go off the scale, and she orders everyone to get back, but it’s too late–the place explodes. Only she and two others survive. Realizing that the flames were mystical, she knows that they need Sela’s help. At Arcane Acre, Violet teases Skylar for making goo-goo eyes at Ali. The mean blonde leaves and Ali and Skylar talk, with the pair promising to meet later to go over classwork. This was my first issue of this series, and I didn’t feel too lost. There’s obviously a lot of backstory, as this is Issue 107, but I immediately fell into Sela and Belinda’s relationship in running the school, and how the students relate to each other. There was a nice tease on Page 8 of bad things to come. Pages 14 and 15 contain elements that are part of the big arc of this series, and it was explained well enough to a newbie like me. The last two pages introduce a new antagonist as a student is rendered unconscious. I’m interested in seeing where this goes. Overall grade: A

The art: Andrea Meloni does good character work. All of her characters look unique and she’s able to have them emote well, such as on Page 2, 4, 7, 17, and 21. She also is really good with the big action sequences, which occur on Pages 3, 18, 19, and 21. She is also good at moving her point of view around. There are several scenes where characters are having conversations sitting down, which doesn’t exactly provide many opportunities for thrilling moments, but Meloni moves the perspective often, keeping things interesting as the discussions go on. What I didn’t like was the empty or sparse backgrounds. The settings look the best when the action goes out of Arcane Acre. Pages 4 – 7, 9 – 13, 16 – 17, and 20 – 22 have this major flaw. Often the colorist is relied upon to fill in the empty spaces, and there are many. Page 8 shows that Meloni can do backgrounds well, but I needed to see this type of detail more often. The dorms on Page 12 look more like a prison than students’ living quarters. They’re so plain, they really stick out. Pages 18 and 19 are the visual highpoints of the book, and this encourages me to see what Meloni can do when the story gives her more than two person conversations. Overall grade: B- 

The colors: Good work is done by Erick Arciniega on every panel on this book. The first page nicely shows the transition of time through coloring. Even if I hadn’t been told that the first three panels occurred in the past, the coloring explicitly showed me. Nice electrical, Page 2, and flame work, Pages 3 and 19, are done. I really liked the lighting done on Jessica’s face in the penultimate panel on the second page. I like the coloring done in the empty panels on Page 16–good choices to break up the dim scene. Sounds also stand out due to the coloring, as do the narration and scene setting boxes. Overall grade: A

The letters: The Ghost Glyph Studios provides scene settings, sounds, dialogue, blog text, and the teaser for next issue. I was impressed with the blog boxes’ font–it was really tiny like actual postings and it made me think it was real. I also liked the sounds at the bottom of Page 2 and the one in the first panel on 3. Nicely done. Overall grade: A

The final line: A good entry point that has me intrigued and wanting to know more. That’s the sign of a good comic! Overall grade: A-

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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