In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #11

The newest villains of Zenescope have Skye infiltrating one of their sanctums and it's perfect storytelling.

The covers: There’s a big nine issues to collect if one has to have every cover variant. Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes start things off with an A cover that features Skye up to her knees in trouble. She’s wadding through some type of bloody pit, complete with two skeletons floating in it. She’s got a hand in front of the reader to warn them to keep back, while her other hand holds her sword which is emitting a tremendous amount of pink energy to light her way as she travels through the catacombs. Very nice, with the background looking finely detailed. Strong colors on this too. The B is by Ario Murti and Jesse Heagy showing Skye facing off against the winged villain Judgment. Skye is in profile, holding her sword in both hands as she blocks a blow from the hooded figure’s blade. Skye looks great and Judgment looks awesome. The colors on this, with that crimson background, make the characters pop. My only qualm is that there’s not enough power for the action; both characters look like they’re posing for this, rather than being caught in the actual action of a fight. Marc Rosete does a killer job on the C cover which features one of the Queens of Tarot. She’s a beautiful demonic woman holding a glowing orange orb in her fist, with the other holding a massive sword that’s point down in the ground. This is a terrific character illustration with everything working. Gorgeous and deadly. The D cover by Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune looks to be a lost scene from Eyes Wide Shut as Skye is in a black robe momentarily removing a devil mask when other masked and robed characters pass by down the hall. She’s got a delightful mischievous smile on her face, communicating that she’s up to no good. The coloring on this is really bright, bringing out all elements of the art, yet keeping the tone secretive. A surprise stunner is the E cover by Mike Mahle. This is a stylized covers of Skye in a forest. She has an apple held high in one hand and her sword down low in the other. There’s a breeze blowing leaves and her transparent skirt about. The design is beautiful and the colors fantastic. This looks like it could be a stained glass window. This is one to track down! The Quarterly Exclusive (limited to 250 copies) by Elias Chatzoudis has a full figured Snow White sitting in front of a quaint cottage. She’s taken a bite from an apple as she sits on a log, exposing the garters for her black stockings. Cute. The coloring on this is darker than I like on covers that focus on one character. There is also a VIP Exclusive (limited to 75 copies) by Chatzoudis which has the same layout as the previous cover, though Snow is now wearing just her black bra, black panties, and matching garters and stockings. A little more risque, but still in the style of a classic “good girl” cover. Snow’s skin brightens this cover considerably. The Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 50 copies) by Chatzoudis and a Valentine’s Day Exclusive (limited to 350) by Chatzoudis are so limited I couldn’t find an image of this pair online, so good luck tracking them down, collectors! Overall grades: A A-, B B+, C A+, D B+, E A+, Quarterly Exclusive B, and VIP Exclusive A

The story: This issue has Skye investigating the Order of Tarot, the newest big bads of the Zenescope Universe. Joe Brusha starts this tale with Skye recounting that her friend Jasmine was taken by the group two weeks ago and that every place she’s searched for her the Order has come up. After speaking with Shang they decide she should go to New Orleans where he has a contact. Once in the Big Easy, Skye enters a shop of supernatural wares to speak with Sybilla, a short robed wizened woman who tells her that one customer has been coming in researching special rituals that pertain to the Order. That night Skye finds the woman and follows her. As she shadows this person, Skye thinks, “Too easy. Someone connected to Tarot wouldn’t be this careless. Which means that this has got to be some kind of trap. But I don’t have a lot of options. I guess I’ll just have to take the…” And that’s when a blast of energy hits her. A quick action sequence follows with Skye and her opponent taking to the sky, ending with a surprise. The villain reports to his superior who reminds the lesser that it’s his job to keep Skye in check, especially since they have plans for some deviltry that evening. Back at Sybilla’s, the elder gives Skye some backstory on the Order of Tarot, which leads Skye to venture into Stanley Kubrick territory. This book really delivers the suspense as the hero delves into the Order’s territory and sees things she shouldn’t. The entire Zenescope line has been slowly revealing the Order’s aims and now it seems that they’re going into motion. An excellent read. Overall grade: A

The art: Derlis Santacruz is an artist whose work I’m seeing more and more of and I’m really enjoying what he’s doing. With the first panel he establishes himself as a good artist showing Skye exiting her jeep and making her way through the streets of New Orleans. Skye looks outstanding, with the work done on her hair particularly strong. Her vehicle is also good, very realistic, and the background, though not intended to be the focus, has all the hallmarks of what one would think of when visualizing this iconic city. Tilting the panel gives the imagery an edginess, which is how Skye feels as she searches for Jasmine. Sybilla’s shop is delightful, full of several books and decorated with various skulls, shrunken heads, and bottled blasphemes. The old woman looks fantastic, looking as if she’s just arrived from Machu Picchu, and her smoking of a pipe is a great character touch. The reveal of who’s attacking Skye on Page 5 is outstanding, with the villain looking gigantic and Skye transforming into her hero togs. I really like the magical energy that surrounds the heroine. The last panel on 7 is great, showing the strength and surprise on Skye’s face. The two pages that follow show the antagonists conversing and Santacruz has set up his panels so that the master villain is not clearly seen, shown in shadows or from the nose down. This is a great tease that sets up this issue’s final page. Page 11 shows all the Order visually, which is the first I’ve encountered in a Zenescope book, and it shows how all the players relate: I was grateful for this page and Santacruz makes it visually easy to remember for future use. The ten pages that follow have Skye going into the belly of the beast. It’s creepy and eerie; all that was missing was music by Jocelyn Pook. The final page is fantastic, showing the Queen clearly to Skye and the reader. She’s absolutely stunning. Naturally the final panel finds Skye in peril and her look of shock is the perfect way to end the book. Santacruz is doing a strong job on this book and I’m looking forward to seeing what else he can create. Overall grade: A

The colors: I’m always happy to read a book set in dark locales or at night, but colored bright enough to allow all of the art to be seen. That’s exactly what Jorge Cortes does in this book. Using the red of the jeep and the roof on the building behind her, Skye stands out well in blue in the first panel. Cortes does a really good job on characters’ skin, which starts in that first panel, with some great highlights on Skye, and continues throughout the book, with everyone being appropriately darkened inside buildings or outside in the night. Sybilla’s business is decorated with many items, allowing Cortes to give certain things creepy colors, such as the bottled badness on her desk. Page 11 uses colors in addition to the art to separate each Order of Tarot and the page is the most vibrant of the book because of Cortes’s work. The villainess’s reveal on the final page is gorgeous in different shades of red, and having her dialogue balloons and text in red makes her even more evil. Cortes is a good match with Santacruz. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios turns in another spectacular job on a Zenescope title. For this outing he creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, sounds, yells, a villain’s unique speech, and the tease for next issue. His scene settings impress since they look as if they’re racing into each panel, compelling the reader to get to the next chapter of each story as soon as possible. The narration is differentiated from the dialogue, a key component to having a successfully lettered comic. The sounds are fun, upping the action as well as being menacing, with the book’s closing BONGs being a good example. It’s the unique font for one of the book’s baddies that really stands out. It makes the character seem incredibly old and makes his visage even more impressive. Overall grade: A 

The final line: The newest villains of Zenescope have Skye infiltrating one of their sanctums and it’s perfect storytelling. The characters are interesting and the visuals are strong. The only thing that will disappoint is that you have to wait a month for the next issue. Flat out fun. 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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