In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #15

Merlin continues to release the Age of Camelot upon the world, with only Skye to stop him.

The covers: A big eight covers to collect for this fifteenth issue. The A by Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes is a powerful piece showing Skye in her fighting clothes wielding her sword while standing in some debris. Behind her is Merlin, using his magical abilities to put a shield around them. The characters look great and the energy that’s projected from Merlin is awesome. Also awesome are the colors which are bold in greens and yellows. This pair of colors allows Skye’s brighter red suit to really take the focus. The B is by Fritz Casas and Sanju Nivangune and it showcases a fantastic moment from the fight between Skye and the Black Knight. Skye is in the foreground turning to her left with her flaming sword held high to deflect the blow from her foe. The positioning of each character is super. The magic pouring out of Skye’s sword is sweet and the red energy that’s coalescing around her left fist is awesome. The villain’s armor is sensational with the highlights on it perfection. This looks great. The “Good Girl” cover would definitely be the C by Meguro. This has the villain shown from the knees up with her sword cockily resting behind her neck. She looks great, though I’m questioning her choice in protection, as she’s left herself fairly open to attack. Looking closer, her right hand is a little small for her size, but the rest of the image is tops. The final regular cover is the D by Adam Brown which owes much to Washington Irving as the villain rides her nightmarish mare through the forest. The villainess has a snarl on her face and her mount looks monstrous, with its mane flaring out and its hooves tremendous. Great work done on the setting as well. I couldn’t find a picture of the In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100 copies) by Michael Dooney with colors by Nivangune, so good luck, collectors! The May the 4th Exclusives (limited to 350/100 copies) by Paul Green with colors by Ula Mos are already sold out online, so if you’re interested you’re really going to hunt these down. Each of these covers is essentially the same, with an attractive brunette shown from the left, dressed as Rey from the most recent Star Wars films. She’s holding a blue lightsaber to her right as she sits before a stylized window with a futuristic city outside. A pointy headed BB-8 character is barely visible in the bottom left. The 100 copy limited edition has the character instead holding Rey’s staff from Episode VII with her chest exposed. Green’s work is always outstanding and when colored by Mos these images become classics. Both are worth finding. A buxom long haired brunette wearing too tight Crocodile Hunter attire calmly sits with the open maw of a ginormous crocodile on the MegaCon Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Mike Krome and Mos. This image has the background contained within a circle from which the creature and the cutie are emerging. The rest of the background is on a light yellow. This resembles a postcard image and looks great. Overall grades: A A, B A+, C B+, D A-, May the 4th Exclusive (Both) A+, and MegaCon Exclusive A-

The story: I would like to say that writer Joe Brusha starts this tale in fantasy, but such incidents seem to be appearing far too often: a homeless man is pursued through the snowy streets of New York City by two police officers with guns drawn. Why they’re after the man isn’t stated, but they corner him in an alleyway and demand he show his hands. The man reaches into his jacket and they open fire, killing him. Coming to the body of the fallen man the officers discover that he was reaching for a bottle of alcohol. The next day at the Public Defender’s office, Peyton Parker reads in the paper about the unarmed black hispanic man killed and she is mad. Later that afternoon the officers turn themselves in, attracting an angry mob. However, the mob is nothing compared to the Black Rider who arrives on horseback demanding justice for the dead man and the officers’ deaths. Fortunately for them, Skye arrives and that’s when the action kicks in. The battle between the characters is solid, with Skye believing herself to be lucky, as her opponent is strong. Further in the issue Skye learns that all the troubles she’s recently come up against are due to the return of the Age of Camelot, lead by the wizard Merlin. There’s a rematch fight, that takes an interesting character turn for one of the characters and reveals that Merlin is watching the battle. The evil mage decides to step things up by releasing a horror within the subway system, but that conflict will have to wait for the next installment. This was a fun story, with a nice change on Page 20 that could effect the direction of one individual. I really liked seeing Merlin in action, as all he’s done is work from Camelot, but running loose in New York makes him more of a threat. A very enjoyable read. Overall grade: A

The art: The artwork on this issue is incredible. No seriously, this looks sensational. Leo Rodrigues is the artist and he knocks this book out of the park. The issue starts cinematically with a long shot of the city, pulling to look down upon the entrance of alley with the police officers leaving their car running, followed by a large panel, slightly tilted to up the anxiety level, to show the man being closely pursued. It’s very exciting and it’s highly detailed work. Page two has a series of panels that consecutively pull in closer to the characters to show their stress. The death of the man is violent and the reveal of what he was reaching for shocking. The appearance of Parker begins similarly (establishing shot of building, slow pull in to her office) and ends with a really tight close-up of her angry eyes. Page 6 was a little too distant from the Black Rider, though this is really a minor nick. Rodrigues is showing a lot of action and to do so he has to pull away from the character. She accomplishes much on this page and on 7, but she’s not really shown in close-up to the reader until the bottom of this final page. I think she should have been shown more clearly in an earlier panel, but this is just a matter of taste. When she is revealed it’s incredibly dramatic. Skye’s entrance is incredible, with the flame and magical work incredible. Rodrigues definitely knows how to draw a face. Even when the characters aren’t speaking, such as at the end of 10, the reader can see the character thinking. The montage on 12 is great, with several promises of things to come in Skye’s future. The Black Rider’s appearance on 13 is wonderful. The battle with Skye is, again, incredible, with a lot of energy shown and water playing a key role. Water always is a bugaboo for artists, but Rodrigues has no issues in illustrating the element. The final panel shows the next threat that Ms. Mathers will face to face and it’s really big! I would love to see Rodrigues getting an entire series to illustrate. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jorge Cortes is the issue’s colorist and he starts strongly in the opening scene, with some great coloring on New York City at night and the action in the alley. What Cortes does is perfect, because that alley should be much darker, but he colors the art so that the visuals can be seen and not obscured by the coloring. It’s dark, but it’s not so much so that things are unclear. The gunshots are appropriately bright and the blood gruesome in crimson. I’m really liking the different shades that done throughout the book, even on the elements that most readers would breeze over, such as the work done in Parker’s office and the newspaper. The highlights on the Black Rider’s armor are incredible throughout the book. Creating a shine on armor can be a tripping point for a colorist, but Cortes never slips up in highlighting it: excellent work. The coloring on Skye’s arrival is fantastic. The sky behind the characters is fantastic in dynamic blue, giving the perfect background to showcase them. The arrival of the creature on the final page is outstanding, with its highlights spectacular. Cortes is the perfect match for Rodrigues’s art. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The text of this issue consists of scene settings, narration, yells, dialogue, a whisper, sounds, newspaper text, signage, screams, and the tease for next issue. Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios makes the text of this book visually entertaining, with the narration and dialogue differentiated, the yells varied, and the sounds fantastic! Ya’ gotta love a good KRRZZNGG! Even the tease for next issue looks terrific. Often the tease will be only in italic block letters but Esposito differentiated it so much it looks more like the text from the beginning of a story, not its end. Esposito is always tops. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The story is fun, with a new villain introduced and the visuals incredibly strong, leaving me wanting to see much more from artist Leo Rodrigues. Merlin continues to release the Age of Camelot upon the world, with only Skye to stop him. I really liked this issue. 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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