In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #29

Dorothy seeks information in Oz, but is unaware of the dramatic changes occurring there.

The covers: There are eleven covers to collect if you want to collect every frontpiece as Skye journeys to Oz for the first time. The A cover by Igor Vitorino and Hedwin Zaldivar has Skye standing outside the Emerald City with her shield on her right arm and her flaming sword held high in her left. A mist streams by her feet and several boulders with the iconic city close by. Nice. The B cover by Harvey Tolibao and Ivan Nunes is beautiful. Skye tries to avoid several monstrous flying monkeys that surround her. She’s mid-leap with her sword held with both hands to her left. The details in this cover are spectacular with the winged simians looking spectacular. The colors on this are also extraordinary. The “Good Girl” cover would definitely be the C by Jay Anacleto and Ula Mos. This has a fierce looking Dorothy Gale in her Kansas attire wielding a dagger in her right hand as her left hand is held back as a fist that’s powering up mystical energy. She looks fantastic, the colors are strong, and the background –the Emerald City — looks great. Gee, I wonder why she looks so evil on this cover? The final regular cover is the D created by Anthony Spay and Grostieta. This has Skye with her sword in her right hand facing the reader, but trying to discover what’s made a noise behind her. She’s on the Yellow Brick Road, but it’s guarded by several gnarly looking trees that disrupt the path. A lone crow sits up high by the book’s title. Strong colors on this make the protagonist stand out. There are also seven Exclusive covers, but I couldn’t find images of them online. They include the Toronto Fan Expo Cosplay Exclusives (limited to 350/100) by Sabine Rich, the VIP ComicFest Exclusives (limited to 500/100) by Elias Chatzoudis, the In-Store Exclusive (100) by Paul Green and Mos, the Secret Exclusive by Sun Khamunaki, and the Leo Exclusive (350) by Chatzoudis. Good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B A+, C A+, and D B+

The story: A gorilla with wings, which counts as a flying monkey from Oz, gets a burst of energy from Skye as she blasts it. She’s arrived just in time to save one of her friends from these monstrous sized foes. Once the battle has concluded, text is found on the backside of her shield that can only be read in Oz. That’s where Skye journeys and meets with Bartleby and Queen Dorothy. There’s a notation that this story takes place before the events of the current Oz: Heart of Magic series. This is good to know because there’s been some tremendous changes at this location, and the reader is teased of them with a reveal on 15 and 16 that results in a conflict for the remainder of the issue. This story was created by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Dave Franchini, with Franchini actually writing the issue. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop in Oz and boy does it! I love the group that becomes the unintentional antagonists of this issue; it’s rare to have them as a credible threat and they most definitely are in this issue. The final page is a great reveal that will be familiar to fans who are following Dorothy’s current exploits in Oz. This moves Skye further along in her odyssey to get Shang back and sending her to Oz is a great way to show readers what’s happening in that land. A fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: Daniel Mainé is a really strong artist on this issue. There are flying gorillas in this issue. Flying. Flippin’. Gorillas. And they look awesome. Page 1 is a full-paged splash of one of the apes getting zapped and it’s a great way to start the book with such a frightening thing not having a pleasant moment. Skye’s first appearance on the next page has her looking strong with her fist powering up. The action that tops the third page is outstanding. The energy and output from Skye’s sword on Page 5 is great. The exterior of the Emerald City is not good, composed of basic shapes to create the streamlined city. Dorothy enters the book in a full-paged splash on 10 and she looks regal as she’s accompanied into the room with a guard. She and Skye look excellent at the bottom of 11. The flashback panels on 13 are done with uneven panels composed of irregular lines, visually making it look not in the present, but also giving a clue about the tale teller. A neat visual clue is given on 14 which is followed by an excellent final panel on 15, with the smile and the smoke fantastic. The reveals on 16 are terrific and I love the giant face shown in the final panel on that page. The look of concern on Skye that ends 17 is good. I like that when she’s shown on the next two pages it’s with the reader looking up at her; this is a smart way to reinforce how she appears to the others. The final image of the book is a perfect way to get readers to return next month: the characters and the water are fantastic. Overall grade: A 

The colors: When a book goes to Oz there need to be brights colors and Jorge Cortes provides them. Heck, there’s an explosion of orange to highlight the dark shape of a flying gorilla on the opening page. I like how Skye creates a cool blue around and behind her when she uses her magical abilities, making her in her bright outfit and the dark apes really pop. The runes on the back of her shield stand out in gold, for how else should they be colored? Oz has a lot of greens and they create magic on the page. For a scarecrow, Bartleby has some neat shading on his face. Neat shading is also done on people’s flesh, such as Skye and Dorothy, with the latter looking regal in royal blue. The flashbacks are aged with sepia to make them old and they are good visual clues for the reader. Though it’s only on the final pages, the yellows in the iconic road look great. I love the work done with the water on the final page. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is the individual behind this issue’s screams, sounds, dialogue, scene settings, an editorial note, laughter, and the tease for next issue. The opening bellows/screams by the flying gorillas look like a wail that these creatures would create. The sounds are fun throughout the issue, with SZZZKKTTT hard to top! The dialogue is easy to read throughout and is differed from the editorial note which is in italics. Simple, easy to do, and absolutely appropriate. The scene settings are really too small in this issue, with The Emerald City on Page 8 being particularly small. This was disappointing and the only slight in Esposito’s work. The laughter matches the joy with which it is given and the final three words that tease next issue are glamorous. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Dorothy seeks information in Oz, but is unaware of the dramatic changes occurring there. The story has some solid action with flying gorillas, a neat twist literally placed upon her, and a slick change in her visage by the end. The visuals are highly enjoyable with Mainé making Oz magical and menacing. Skye’s odyssey continues to be a pleasure to read. 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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