In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #14

The Age of Camelot continues to develop across the Grimm Universe, with Skye now drawn into it.

The covers: Eight covers to track down if one wants to own them all. The A is by Sheldon Goh and Ylenia Di Napoli and has Winter Sudam running at the reader in costume. She looks like a Musketeer in that garb and it’s colored in gloriously bright colors. By placing the sun behind her she has a halo surrounding her, giving her an instantly heroic tone. Solid heroic cover. Caanan White and Ceci de la Cruz have created the B cover which is a nicely detailed illustration of Skye battling Carmen. The Musketeer holds two short swords, with one thrust at Skye, who parries with her longsword as she leaps back. The characters look great, with their costumes outstanding and the work on their hair superb. The background is also extremely well done. The colors by de la Cruz are also good, with the characters standing out against the city at night. I’m the first one to say that photo insertion of any kind in comics just does not work. The C frontpiece by Derlis Santacruz and Ula Mos has me eating my words. The background looks to be a photo, while Winter is an illustration. She looks incredible. I love her pose, love the look on her face, her cape, her hair, and her clothes look incredible. The background works with this perfectly. My hat is off to this pair for turning in such a great cover. The D cover by Julius Abrera and Grostieta would have been better if hand’t been so darkly colored in some places. Winter is in the foreground, Carmen is just behind her, with Diego in the back. There’s a tremendous cloud behind them. This is fine, but Winter and Diego are just too dark, with their flesh almost as dark as their costumes. I do like the excellent work done with all the shades of reds, but this also makes the dark clothes and dark flesh darker. The Quarterly Exclusive (Limited to 250 copies) is by Elias Chatzoudis and features a buxom blonde walking through a misty forest. She has one hand in her hair as she smiles at the reader, while the other holds a lantern low so she can find her way. Her top is cut low and her red skirt is short, showing where her stockings begin. Homina, homina, homina. The VIP Exclusive (Limited to 75) is also by Chatzoudis and features the same art, but the woman is wearing fewer clothes. Gone is her top, now just her black bra remains, and her skirt is absent, leaving just some white panties. This is the definition of “Good Girl” art. The Zenescope Exclusive (Limited to 50), again by Chatzoudis, is the one cover I could not find an image of online. I’m sure it’s the same composition as the previous two covers, but with fewer or no clothing. Good luck with this one, collectors! The final cover is the C2E2 Exclusive (Limited to 300) by Mike DeBalfo with colors by Hedwin Zaldivar. This is designed like a faux Vogue cover with Robyn Locksley in a green camouflage bikini, with her quiver slung around her waist and her bow held behind her back by both hands. Robyn is a knockout on this and the colors are perfection. This MUST be a poster or print from Zenescope. Articles teased on the cover include Summer Preview, Road Trip, Baseball Preview, and my favorite 20 Questions With Shang: Why the Gimm Universe’s Sexiest Highborn is still single. I love this! Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, D B-, Quarterly Exclusive A+, VIP Exclusive A+, and C2E2 Exclusive A+

The story: On the top of a skyscraper in Philadelphia the newest Zenescope team, The Three Musketeers, are training. Winter Sudam leaps about like an acrobat, plus “she’s not bad with a sword either.” Carmen Alexander’s specialty is swords and “she can’t imagine not having one in her hand.” The final member of this trio is Diego Garcia who’s big and strong, though a tad clumsy; he’s shown slipping and falling on plank of wood that has exposed nails. It doesn’t hurt him physically, though his pride is as the women laugh at him. This is a solid introduction to this team from writer Joe Brusha: their abilities are teased visually and their relationships are shown as they practice and through their exit dialogue. It’s after this training sequence that the reader will look at them a bit differently, as they go into action at night. Carmen leads them to a location that she has a feeling about and they witness some criminal in the act of breaking the law. They intervene, but do something that’s not exactly heroic, which brings Samantha Darren to Arcane Acre to speak with Skye to get her to help her out. The pair go to Philadelphia and find the threesome, again helping others, but doing something, again, not heroic. The expected battle is good, with both sides surprised by the other. I was surprised by the penultimate page, as Brusha’s story had this going in a different direction. It’s on the final page that there’s a solid reason why for the change and this leaves the conflict with a solid cliffhanger. I thought this team had already met this baddie at the end, but I rolled with it. I enjoy the characters, no matter what Zenescope title they’re in, and I like how the relationships are developing, with this issue seeming to solidify that one member isn’t as nice as the other two. A fun read. Overall grade: A-

The art: Marcelo Mueller is the book’s artist and I enjoyed what he did with this issue. The book opens with a good panel of downtown Philadelphia, with the Musketeers teased in the distance atop a building. I like when artists tilt a panel’s point of view when characters are in action. Mueller starts with a straight, level panel of the characters and starting on Pages 2 and 3 the point of view is moved around to make the characters incredibly agile and strong. Winter is spectacular as she leaps about, reminding me of an acrobatic wall-crawler from New York. Carmen is a badass with her four panels as she swings her practice weapon and makes a spectacular leap. Diego’s fall had me gasp a little, having forgotten how strong he is, and the reaction of his teammates to what’s occurred is great. I like the layout of panels two through four on Page 5 which is neat for having all three characters together but divided so each gets their own moment. The point of view on 6 is awesome, with the second panel being a great angle. I also really like the final panel on the page; granted, it’s the backs of some characters but it creates a terrific ominous mood. Diego has got a major moment on 8, as does Winter, but I really wanted to see the action, rather than get a panel in silhouette. The transition between 9 and 10 is very smooth and served as a great way to introduce the heroes. The close-up of Shang at the bottom of 11 is great, increasing the worry in his words. I love the circular panel at the bottom of 12 — I’m a sucker for these round panels that instantly give a comic a classic feel. The entrance in the first panel on 13 is perfection, and the character’s reaction at the bottom of 14 awesome. The fight that follows is good, with everyone getting a moment. The magic that comes into play is also cool, with a large dose of it on the last two pages. I’m liking Mueller’s work. Overall grade: A 

The colors: The training session is in the daylight and it’s against a gorgeous blue sky. The job that colorist Jorge Cortes does on the characters’ flesh is really good, with the shading on them strong; I’m completely taken by Winter’s skin. The movements and swings done by the female Musketeers are done with a white streak and light blue outline, making their motions speedy. When Carmen cuts something down on 3 it is spectacular with a background of blue, violet, and white. I was ecstatic that when the team went into action at night Cortes didn’t make the visuals so dark that they became obscured. When there are gunshots they are excellent explosions of orange and yellow. The sounds also stand out because of the coloring. Skye and Sam’s costumes are standouts in the final battle, always drawing the eye. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text is by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios who creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, sounds, a broadcast, and signage. I continually mention this in reviews, but it bares repeating: letterers that differentiate narration from dialogue are at the top of their field. It doesn’t happen enough, but when it does I’m impressed. I’m also impressed that the radio broadcast the heroes overhear is in a different front than the narration. I’ve seen other letterers use the same italicized font for narration and transmissions, but Esposito uses a different font. Don’t believe me? Check the letter a, it’s slightly different. The sounds in this are many and fun, with ZZAAP and SZZT being great. Don’t forget to check out the scene settings which are also terrific. Overall grade: A

The final line: Skye and Sam meet the Musketeers and it’s fun destruction. The Musketeers continue to develop as characters and throwing Skye at them shows the trio at their best and worst. The Age of Camelot continues to develop across the Grimm Universe, with Skye now drawn into it. I’m ready for more! 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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