In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #26

The Odyssey has begun, but even Skye isn't prepared to go it alone.

The covers: A massive ten covers to seek out if the Sirens don’t pull you from your quest. The A cover by Geebo Vigonte and Ivan Nunes has Skye looking at the reader with her left foot up on a marble base as she powers up her left hand and her right holds her sword. Both her hand and sword are emanating light violet energy. She’s standing before the statues of the Nexus, gigantic knights with lion heads. This is great, with her hair blowing back from a breeze outstanding. There’s action to be had on the B by Caanan White and Ceci de la Cruz. Skye and Cindy look to be in an arena with both leaping up high: Skye has her sword behind her back with both hands, ready to swing it over her head to deliver a killing blow, while Cinderella snarls as she holds both her blades out to slice and dice her foe. Great poses, great sense of motion, and outstanding colors — I love Skye’s reds against the background. The “Good Girl” cover is the C from Derlis Santacruz and Ula Mos. Cinderella arches her back and has her right hand flopped on top of her head, pulling back some hair to reveal her face. Her left arm falls lazily to her side. Behind her looks like the ruins of a stone fortress. The sun behind her is a brilliant yellow, allowing her blues and flesh to pop off this frontpiece. There’s even more action on the D cover by Edgar Salazar and Hedwin Zaldivar. Skye is standing on a rocky surface with what appears to be orcs racing at her from either side and one plummeting down upon her. All of the creatures have long blades in each hand, while she stands with her sword in her right and her left in a fist. Love the characters and the cool coloring, with those violets and oranges supreme. There is also a VIP Platinum Exclusive by Elias Chatzoudis that I couldn’t find an image of online. Add to that these four covers: the San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Edition (limited to 100/75), the San Diego Comic Con ZenBox Exclusive (limited to 150), the San Diego Comic Con Cosplay Foil Edition (50), and the VIP 2019 Comic Fest Exclusives (250/100) all by Eric Basaldua and Mos. The final cover is a Subscription Plus Level Foil Exclusive (50) by Basaldua, which, like the previous five, I couldn’t find. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: All A

The story: Skye has gone looking for Shang who was taken away into one of the Realms of Power. Going through a portal in search of her mentor, the first person she encounters is the homicidal Cinderella. “I hope you’re excited to see me!” says the sadistic killer as she swings two swords at the heroine. This tale, thought up by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Dave Franchini, with the latter writing the issue, then gives a two page synopsis of what’s occurred in the last several months of Zenescope comics to put Skye in this situation. A return to the present occurs on Page 4 with Skye on the ground with the villain racing upon her. That’s when Skye lets loose with a blast of energy from her hands, knocking the female fury back several yards. Rising, Skye says, “Thanks. I’ve been really needing to kick someone’s ass.” Considering all the loses that she’s chalked up lately, it’s understandable that she wants to win a battle. Cindy thinks this is going to be an easy fight but she’s not prepared for Skye’s new level of powers nor the new blade she wields. I like how the battle between this pair quickly grows and how one side has to make a quick getaway. Very cool. I also enjoyed the surprise of Skye’s plans being shot down by her friends, for a very plausible reason. However, I was happy to learn that one ally is going to give her some important information before she goes out alone. The ending is a good cliffhanger with the villain not fully shown, leaving readers to ponder whose clutches the raven haired hero has fallen into. This was a great start to the new saga “The Odyssey.” More please, Zenescope! Overall grade: A

The art: Milton Estevam is the artist on this issue and his work is all over the place for me. Throughout the book Skye has got a wide face on a squished head. When show from the side or gritting her teeth during battle, she’s fine. If she’s standing in concentration she really looks unnatural. Take the first page: there’s an inserted panel of her that leads into the two page flashback/synopsis. This is how she’s going to look from the front. Cindy looks great as she goes into action in the large panel. The two page flashback is done well, showing Merlin making his moves with Shang getting taken. Page 4 starts well with Skye powering up and casting all that energy at her foe, but the fourth panel has her head look smooched. The fifth page has both characters looking good, though neither one is shown with a straight on image; I do have to say how neat the first panel is on this page. 6 introduces several other characters who look great — Estevam can really do excellent crowd scenes. Though, look at Skye’s head in the first panel: she’s gong Cro-Magnon. The blast delivered on 8 is excellent as is the recipient of the energy. However, Skye gets munched again on 9. This only occurs when she’s looking straight at the reader; it’s not that often, but it does stick out. The collection of smaller images on a large one on Page 12 is excellent. Estevam definitely knows how to lay out a page and fill it appropriately. That’s what makes Pages 15 – 22 so surprising: they’re so bare. The characters looks fine, but the panels just lack any backgrounds as two individuals talk, with 18 being incredibly sparse. It’s as if more dialogue was expected to be inserted there. Even the new location on 20 is simplistic and Skye’s arm is really awkward in that final large panel. The last page is a full-paged splash that looks good, save the empty upper left corner which is a glare from a light source. It just seems like a waste of space. I like parts of Estevam’s work, while others leave me wondering about his choices. Overall grade: C+

The colors: There’s no denying that Jorge Cortes’s colors look good. The first page has Cinderella in beautiful blues that match the sky, with Skye looking incredibly vulnerable to her blades with so much of her flesh showing. The sepias used for the two pages of flashbacks are beautiful. The blue background that’s used for Skye and Cindy’s fight really makes the characters vivid. I love the greens on the individuals that appear on 6 and Skye’s blasts in orange are powerful. Nice use of violet around the smaller panels on 12. I like how Cortes is doing his best to vary up the backgrounds on the final pages, especially when there is no background. The light source on the final page at least fills that space. Overall grade: A

The letters: One of the best in the business is Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios who creates this issue’s dialogue, narration, yells, sounds, a character’s unique speech, and the tease for next issue. I love when narration and dialogue are in two different fonts, since they are different forms of communication, and they are differed not only from the balloons and boxes and colors that contain them but the design of their font. The yells are great on this book, with Cindy giving a great one on 4. The sounds are also incredibly strong, with Skye creating many of them with her swordplay and energy blasts. A unique character has some quick words with Skye that look unlike any other character’s speech, making this individual stand out tall among the throng of characters. The tease for next issue also looks cool, resembling the puzzle that’s in the title. Esposito’s work is as wonderful to look upon as the artwork. Overall grade: A

The final line: The Odyssey has begun, but even Skye isn’t prepared to go it alone. The story is great, being a terrific entry point for new readers and going forward at a good clip for veteran fans. Having Cinderella make an appearance is always an excellent way to start an issue, and she’s still completely bonkers and deadly as can be. The artwork was a mixed bag for me, with the protagonist looking awkward whenever she faced the reader, and the last few pages being incredibly sparse. That said, the majority of the book has enough for me to hold on to and want to continue to follow Skye’s adventures. Overall grade: B+

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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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