In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales: 2017 Armed Forced Edition

If one is looking for illustrations of beautiful women, this is for you.

The covers: A lucky seven to find on this issue geared towards those in the armed services of America. The A cover is by Alfredo Reyes and Ylenia Di Napoli. A brunette wearing a crop top that sports the word Marines, a bikini bottom, boots, gloves, and sunglasses, has a rifle in her right hand and a pistol in her left. She is looking at the reader like she means business, while an American flag comprises the background. The character looks attractive and strong and is a fitting cover image. The B cover comes courtesy of Age Velez and is very much a pin-up image as a blonde woman gives a salute while wearing a brown Air Force top, that barely contains her cleavage, a skirt, slit high, revealing her garters, which lead to her stockings, and black high heels. She’s sitting atop a plane, given the metallic coloring on the seat and the blue sky behind her. Very nice. The C hails from David Nakayama who’s been doing covers for Star Wars recently. This is a great cover featuring Hellchild, wearing an army cap, crop top, bikini bottoms, and gloves. She stares intensely at the reader, her red eyes glowing crimson. She’s holding a rifle and has two pistols on her legs. This is outstanding. The last of the regular covers is the D by Mike DeBalfo and Ula Mos. This features a red head giving a salute, wearing a white dress uniform. Her red hair blowing in the breeze has her standing out against the pale blue sky. Nice and comes across as almost a Manga cover. The first Variants are the San Diego Comic Con Exclusives (limited to 350 and 100 copies) by David Nakayama. Against a black backdrop covered in bullet holes, a brunette turns from her side to look at the reader. She has on a modern day military helmet, a white camisole and black panties. A bandolier is slung over one shoulder, while another encircles her waist. Cool and sexy. The Exclusive limited to 100 copies is the same image, though the camisole and panties are missing. There are two other covers, the San Diego Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 150 copies) features art by Mike Krome and colors by Sanju Nivangune and the In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100 copies) by Keith Garvey. I couldn’t find them online to review them, so good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A B+, B A-, C A+, D B, and San Diego Comic Con Exclusives (both) A.

The story: At the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., a hooded figure enters. As she passes famous paintings and items of this country’s past, she gives narration about her family and why she feels good and evil exist. On the fourth page she discovers that a painting has been shredded, seemingly by a clawed hand. She pulls back her hood to discover a minotaur is within the museum. The beast turns to her and Belle, Hunter of Beasts, is revealed to the reader as she springs forward to battle the creature. That’s all this issue has for story, with this five page tease of an upcoming series scheduled in 2018. I’m interested, but this wasn’t enough. It stopped just as it was getting to the action! This preview was crafted by Joe Brusha and Dave Franchini, with Franchini writing it. Overall grade: C+

The art: Ario Murti is the artist for this teasing tale. Belle isn’t fully revealed until the end of the tale, only being shown cloaked from behind or in profile. When the character truly appears on the full-paged splash on Page 5 she looks great. In fact, she’s so great looking it’s incredibly disappointing that this is all that’s seen of her in this book. The settings on this book get a lot more time and they, too, look great, especially in the second panel on Page 1, the final panel on 2, and the first on 3. There’s a quick flashback at the bottom of 3 that’s also well done. The creature is shown in only one panel and it’s a good tease of hopefully more to come from Murti. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Also well done on these five pages are the colors by Ivan Nunes. The first panel has some neat work done on some distant trees and bronze windows. The interiors of the museum have a really cool tile floor, with the shading on it excellent. The first bold colors of the story are appropriately on the Stars and Stripes. The first panel on the second page has Nunes doing some good work on a glass case, allowing the object within it to be bright, but the objects on the other side of the glass muted. The flashback is aged well in bronze. With her full reveal, Belle has a snazzy blue costume with red and gold highlights. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is the final contributor to the story, creating scene settings, narration, the character’s name and tease for next year (the same font). The scene setting is very energetic, done in a bold, semi-slanted font with lower case letters. Using lower case letters makes the book seem formal, which is how one should feel entering such a setting. The narration is well done and is the dominate text of the book. Belle’s name is strong and I look forward to Esposito continuing to work on her adventures. Overall grade: A

The pin-ups: This is why someone is going to purchase this book. There are twenty-eight different pin-ups of practically every female character in the Zenescope Universe drawn by several different artists and colored by as many colorists. The characters are either in military attire, full dress uniform, or just enough to show their alliance to a specific branch. Among the characters are Cinderella, Sela Mathers, Mercy Dante, Dorothy Gale, Hellchild, Robyn Locksley, and Britney Waters. These drawings are really well done. Fan favorite Franchesco! does three illustrations and there’s also exceptional illustrations by Anthony Spay, Salvatore Cuffari, Billy Tucci, and Michael Dooney. Overall grade: A

The final line: A terrific tease of a new character leads to several pages of pin-ups. The only negative that can be said of this book is that the new character only gets five pages. However, this book is not about a story, it’s the pin-ups that matter and there are several strong ones in this one-shot. If one is looking for illustrations of beautiful women, this is for you. 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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