In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #12

This is the book you give to new readers to make them Zenescope fans.

The covers: A lucky seven covers for this concluding chapter to “Order of Tarot.” The A cover by Riveiro and Ivan Nunes has Skye taking a defensive stand in the Shadowlands as she’s surrounded by six undead creatures. The look on her face shows she’s focused, thinking three moves ahead of the meandering monsters. She looks good, the creatures look like something from AMC’s highest rated show, and the background is well detailed. The colors are also good, as it’s not so dark that the setting is lost, and Skye stands out well in her bright costume. Very well done. The B cover by Fritz Casas and Sanju Nivangune is gorgeous. This has Skye battling the female devil (who has yet to reveal her name) with swords atop a rocky outcropping. The characters look great and the colors are stellar. The background is stunning. This looks like something Frazetta would have set up. It’s that good. Ruiz Burgos has created an equally beautiful C cover, but not with an action scene. Skye is in a forest, complete with tree limbs and trunks creating a spiral behind her, and she holds her sword up, showing a speared apple on its tip. She looks terrific, the colors are also exceptionally well done. This is extremely realistic and looks great. The King of Cups gets some cover time on the D by Harvey Tolibao and Grostieta. This has the baddie holding Skye’s Book of Fables. He raises his head from the text and violet and white energy pour of his eyes and he yells. There’s a lot of detail in the energy he’s emitting, as well as in the gold armor around his neck and on his shoulders. The face isn’t working for me, sadly. The colors are good, with the shadow work on his clothing outstanding and that energy spilling out of him very supernatural. I was able to find an image of the the first Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 250) by Keith Garvey, but I couldn’t find an image of the one limited to 100 copies. The one I could find looks as if it’s Jasmine, dressed as Ash from Pokemon. She’s tugs her hat (which has the Zenescope dragon on it) to the side as she cocks a hip. She’s got on a tight half top, with a short version of the blue and white jacket and fingerless green gloves. She’s also got on a really short pair of denim shorts and pair of black high heeled sneakers. Behind her is a blurry background that looks as though she’s at a comic book convention. This is nice and is definitely a “good girl” cover. There is also a Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Mike Krome and Ula Mos that has Skye turning to look at the reader as she makes her way down a wooded path to a distant castle. She has on tight spandex red shorts and a white top, that still shows a lot of skin, which has long black sleeves. She’s grabbing one of her mouse ears with left hand in acknowledgement to the reader. Cute and a perfect cover to purchase at this year’s upcoming WonderCon. The final cover is a Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 50) by Michael Dooney with colors by Mos. I couldn’t find a copy of this online, so good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A-, D C, Cosplay Exclusive (250) A, and Cosplay Exclusive (350) A

The story: Skye has been captured by the Order of Tarot. She’s chained to a chair and concentrates to break out of her bondage, but nothing is happening. Judgment and the female devil walk before her, with the latter saying she can’t break from the chains because they’re magical. She then shows Skye she has the young woman’s magical book and makes the shocking pronouncement “…it has belonged to us the whole time.” Continuing, she reveals to Skye that all the villains she’s fought in the past year were planned by the Order, including using the book to trap Jasmine in the Shadowlands. The Devil then offers Skye to join them and “restore order to Earth and the Realms of Power.” Needless to say, Skye has a response that begins with a four letter expletive that’s cut off by the boastful villainess who leaves accompanied by Judgment. Meanwhile, in a large room another villain is surrounded by willing sacrifices. Baron Samedi then arrives, but writer Joe Brusha quickly returns to the heroine, who has a surprising character appear to assist her. It’s with this character’s arrival that the tide turns and Skye confronts the villains. The battle is good and takes a great turn on Page 14. Unfortunately a big threat arrives two pages later, though two former allies are rescued from a dark place. There’s a lot that happens and it ends with the heroes reunited and finally aware of the Order. That said, a villain makes his debut at the end of this issue that is a major presence in another Zenescope book that just recently began. This was an action heavy book that revealed more of the villains’ plot, setting up future conflicts in other Zenescope books. Overall grade: A

The art: I can’t say enough about how stellar Derlis Santacruz’s art is on this book. Skye is first introduced in a tight horizontal panel that shows her tired, with her eyes closed. The second panel, equally sized, shows her eyes slowly opening, as if having been beaten. This is followed a panel that bleeds off the page in every direction and lies under the previous two: Skye straining against her bonds while a torch flares before her. The stone work in the walls and floor is great and look at all the bars and and hanging cages in the room to show she’s in a very bad place. The introduction of the two villains at the top of 2 is also great, but look at Skye’s reaction when she’s shown the book — Wow! She looks shocked and frail. This is short lived, because the Devil has pushed Skye’s buttons and she strains as she tries to take the red creature down a peg. Pages 3 and 4 is a terrific visual summary of the bads Skye has fought in the last year, including Jasmine’s loss to the book. Each panel looks sensational. The anger on Skye after 4 is fantastic, just as the joy on the Devil’s face is obvious. The arrival of Baron Samedi is good and the arrival of the character in Skye’s cell is also well done. I really like the layout of Page 11, beginning with a tilted angle to make the stairs the protagonists on look even more dangerous. The final two panels on the page are excellent precursors of the full-paged splash on 12 that has the women begin their fight. Both characters are outstandingly rendered, with the explosion of energy from their swords’ clash sweet! The work on the characters’ faces throughout this book is truly outstanding; I love 14, 15, 19, and 20. There’s also a lot of supernatural energy flying about in this issue and it always looks perfect. I’m more than willing to pay extra money on a Zenescope book if it gets Santacruz back illustrating an entire issue. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jorge Cortes is in an interesting situation because, with the exception of two pages, this issue is set in the an enclosed environment that is essentially a dungeon. That setting doesn’t exactly scream bright colors, but he’s able to create a wonderful amount of colors for this book that work perfectly. This begins with Skye bound to a chair with a torch next to her. Check out the superior coloring he did on her skin and costume that’s highlighted by those flames. Look at the great shading done on the Devil, who looks magnificent in an incredibly deep red. Colors explode off Pages 3 and 4 as the past is recounted for Skye. I particularly like the violets on Jasmine. Flames dominate in the villains’ room and in the big action sequence, yet all the characters aren’t overwhelmed by reds, yellows, and oranges. The exit on 15 is great in a glowing teal. Pages 19 and 20 are the brightest of the book, with the sky a gorgeous blue. The book ends with an eerie green foreshadowing future trouble for Skye and her friends. I’m liking what Cortes is doing. Overall grade: A 

The letters: This book’s text contains narration, dialogue, a chant, Judgment’s unique speech, whispered speech, sounds, yells, the identification of a major villain, and the tease for next issue. All are created by the sensational Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. I am always happy to Esposito on a book because the variety of fonts he employs increases the visual joy of any comic. It’s always good to see a letterer use different fonts for dialogue and narration and Esposito does so on the opening page. Judgment’s unique speech font has him immediately set apart from the other characters because he doesn’t sound the same as others when they talk. The sounds are great, with SZZT and FWAAASSHH being flat out fun. Books are better if Esposito is providing the text. Overall grade: A

The final line: The villains summon their leader as Skye battles for her life. The story sets the Order of Tarot up for future deviltry and the artwork is really damn good. This is the book you give to new readers to make them Zenescope fans. 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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