In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #19

Some new threats are introduced as Merlin finally makes a major move.

The covers: Eight different covers to track down, though I couldn’t find half of them online. The A is by Geebo Vigonte and Ivan Nunes. This has Skye holding her flaming sword to the ground as she stands before the famous Round Table of Camelot. Several armored corpses remain at and under the table. The layout is great, the corpses good, the detail excellent, but Skye’s legs are twice as long as her upper body. A slight change in proportion would have helped. The colors, though, are snazzy with outstanding reds and golds. Next up is the B by Sean Chen and Nunes. An armored knight riding a horse charges Skye and their blades clash, with the young woman’s blade creating a spectacle of violet energy. This is a neat point of view, from the antagonist’s back right, with Skye clearly scene. How Skye can be seen while the villain is on his mount, I don’t know, but this does look cool. She looks great with a snarl on her face and the knight looks terrific. The colors are also great with violets exploding and highlighting the characters. Nicely done. This month’s “Good Girl” cover is the C by Alfredo Reyes and Ylenia Di Napoli. This has the Black Knight standing before the reader with a neatly rendered castle behind her. The character looks beautiful and strong and the colors are really well done. The blue sky keeps things dark but not dismal. The dark cover is the D edition by Jason Metcalf and Mohan Sivakami. This shows Baba Yaga from the back, her hair flitting about like cobwebs in a breeze. She holds her glowing staff in her left hand, as her right holds a knight’s helmet. I get that this is supposed to be dark, but it’s too dark. For a such a major villain I wanted to see her more clearly. Baba looks good. The helmet looks too sketchy. This cover needed more work. There are four exclusive covers, but I could not find an image of any of them online. They include the Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Sabine Rich, the Baltimore Exclusives (limited to 250 and 75 copies) by Elias Chatzoudis, the New York Comic con Exclusive (limited to 50 copies) by Chatzoudis, and the In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100 copies) by Keith Garvey. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A B, B B+, C A, and D C-

The story: I have to start this review by saying the payoff at the end of this book is outstanding. Merlin has been running around the realms acquiring artifacts for some nefarious purpose. It’s in this issue that he final takes an action and it’s awesome. Joe Brusha starts this issue showing the damage done to a street in New York City by Oberon and his trolls in the previous installment. The trolls have been turned to stone and Oberon has disappeared. However Shang and Skye are not happy because they lost Lance and the Black Knight. Shang has the feeling that something is about to happen to Lance and he is powerless to stop it. In Merlin’s fortress in Camelot, the wizard pays a visit to Peyton Parks whom he holds prisoner in his dungeon. He’s there to ask her if she will join him in his quest to restore Camelot to its former glory. She refuses and she’s left to stew. A surprising change of location next occurs, with Morgan meeting with an infamous villain from the Zenescope stable of villains. Samantha and Skye are hitting the books to see if they can find a way to find their missing allies and an important fact is restated. It’s the ending of the book that makes this worth picking this issue up. Merlin uses one of his items and a new ally in the creation of some things that will obviously cause many troubles for Skye and others in the upcoming months. In fact, the cliffhanger of the book has one new thing following one of the book’s heroes. I really enjoyed the reveals on 17 and 18 and I can’t wait to see these threats in action. Overall grade: A

The art: Lucas Meyer does a decent job on this issue. His character work is fairly strong, but his backgrounds and settings are fairly rudimentary. For example, the first page has some good work done on the officer in the foreground and the frozen trolls, but the city is fairly generic. I do like that Meyer can move his point of view around very well, with the bottom panel on the opening page a good transition to the leads. Shang’s close-up on 2 is terrific; the character looks great and the emotion on his face perfectly matched to his dialogue. Skye’s full panel that follows isn’t great, with her blending in too easily with the characters behind her. The transition to 3 is really smooth, though Camelot is a very basic construction. Much better is Merlin’s entrance in a terrifically tilted panel, making him visually askew to the reader. The full-paged splash on 4 is a slick way to show the power of the antagonist and what his plans are. All the characters that are shown look good. I also like Peyton’s closing looks to Merlin in the scene, showing her, for the first time, as having a sense of humor. Page 7 introduces a long standing villain into this story and she looks terrific! The interior setting for this character’s introduction is better than the exteriors. The images that Merlin shows on 11 and 12 are really good, with the returning villain seeing how she would assimilate into the wizard’s plans. Using energy to separate the panels was an extremely smart way to split the visuals and reinforce the strength of Merlin. The actions that follow start very slowly and build terrifically to the creation of the troublesome things. I really like the double-paged splash of 17 and 18. It is the perfect visual payoff to this issue and what’s led up to it in previous books. The last three pages return to sparse and generic settings. The characters look fine, but those settings are so basic. The issue ends with a great focus on a problem with some of its tech shown. All in all, I’m more than willing to see Meyer return to this series or another from Zenescope. Overall grade: B

The colors: Jorge Cortes does an excellent job with the color work for this issue. The grays and blues used on the stone trolls is good and the coloring on Shang is terrific. The third panel on Page 3 could have been better had the characters been lighter so the focus goes to Skye because she and the others are a muddy blur. The Black Knight’s armor is well done throughout the book with enough differentiation in her blacks. The fourth page is beautiful in greens against a red background, the swirls in the green are particularly effective. I like that the pillows in the interior setting of 7 match the character’s clothing: a subtle way to show the vanity of this individual. The greens on 12 are terrific, acting as a visual reminder to showcase Merlin’s power. The coloring of the troubles on 17 and 18 is also great, with each visual differed from the others. The background colors in the large panel on 23 is beautiful. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios includes scene settings, narration, dialogue, character identifications, sounds, and the tease for next issue. I always applaud a letterer who differentiates the dialogue from the narration and Esposito does that. The scene settings are neat as they slant slightly to the right, leading the reader right into the panel. The character identifications that occur in the book’s last third are powerful, befitting those individuals excellently. The tease for next issue is small but looks really cool because three different types of lettering are employed with the final one looking zippy. Overall grade: A

The final line: Some new threats are introduced as Merlin finally makes a major move. The story brings a Zenescope villain into this saga and one former villain further cements herself as a hero. The visuals have terrific character work, though the settings are lackluster. I would recommend this to Zenescope fans and anyone who would like a good jumping in point to this series. 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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