In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #8

Some fun character moments add to the enjoyment of a supernatural caper that has an excellent ending.

The covers: Eight different possibilities to tempt your pockets for this issue of Grimm Fairy Tales. Julius Abrera and Grostieta have created a fine A cover that has Skye standing atop a gargoyle that’s high in the city. She looks good and the statuary she’s on looks very alive…could that be a tease of things to come in this issue? Only one way to find out — buy this book! The coloring on this really makes her stand out and I love the use of the eerie light green for the night sky. The B is by Netho Diaz and Jorge Cortes and has Skye fending off a gargoyle, which is trying to throttle her. Her sword is ablaze in violet, with energy crackling about. If only could connect with the creature. Nice action cover from Diaz, though I want to see more of Skye’s eyes — it’s done realistically, with her hair practically obscuring them. The bodies are really well posed and the energy coming out her sword is illuminating the issue number. Nice.  If one is looking for the cheesecake cover, the C by Noah Salonga and Ceci de la Cruz is the one to pick up, and it’s the one I used to accompany this review. Skye takes a seductive pose atop some smooth rocks that are framed by beautiful pink clouds and serene blue and violet waters. This is great! The last of the regular covers is the D by Allan Otero and Mohan Sivakami. This cover is a nice change of pace, not featuring Skye at all, instead focusing on a wicked looking gargoyle as it roars against the moonlight. This looks great, but there’s too much empty space on the right. If the creature had been more centered this would have been outstanding. The In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100) is by Paul Green and Ula Mos and it’s a stunner. A beautiful Goldilocks is carrying three teddy bears and looks at the reader with a lackadaisical expression. Her corset is cut low and her frilly dress barely covers her posterior. The coloring is fantastic, with her outfit colored gold and white, and her hair being a pale brown with the dolls just a shade darker. Any cover by Green and Mos is worth tracking down! There’s also a Secret Exclusive by Green and Mos, and it’s so secret I couldn’t find a copy of it online! Good luck, collectors! A New York Comic Con Blank Sketch Cover (limited to 300) is available should one want to get an original sketch by their favorite artist or to get the contributors to this issue to sign on the front. I think these covers are a sensational idea, but without anything on it but the title, they’re not so great. The final cover is a Baltimore Comic Con Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350) with artwork by Mike DeBalfo and colors by Mos. As with the Secret Exclusive, I couldn’t find an image anywhere online. Again, good luck, collectors! Overall grades: A A, B B+, C A, D C+, and In-Store Exclusive A+

The story: Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco concocted this tale, with Tedesco writing the issue. In South Philadelphia late at night, a man with a gun runs through a back alley. He takes shelter behind a dumpster, holding his weapon skyward. “Stay away from me!” he yells. Seeing no one, he makes his way to a door, unaware that something with very large wings is behind him. Large monstrous clawed feet grasp his shoulders and lift him up while he screams. He’s then dropped and crashes to the concrete like an egg. His body is seen from a window by Marco D’Antonio who tells a man in office “that was extremely impressive.” He asks the man what he wants to crush his remaining rivals. “I run a very small crew, Mr. D’Antonio and that’s how I like it. I figure after you own the city maybe you offer me some new business opportunities…I see it as a win-win.” When asked how much for the spell, the man replies, “It’s my gift to you. Out of respect.” D’Antonio grins, “I like the way you do business.” Meanwhile at LAX, Shang views a news report on his tablet that gargoyles are the latest hyperbole to come out of a major city. Realizing something more could be up, he calls Skye, who’s doing something she shouldn’t be doing in a room she shouldn’t be in. What follows is a fun exchange between the characters before Skye goes to the City of Brotherly Love. A tip leads her to one of the witnesses of the man’s drop, which in turn has her having a run in with an unscrupulous character. As she gets closer to what’s going on, Shang is revisited for comic effect. Naturally Skye finds out what’s going on and why, ultimately having to face the monsters herself. The action goes as a reader would expect, though, the conclusion was a complete surprise. There’s an excellent twist that comes out of left field and elevated the story considerably. This is a decent caper with a slick, surprising ending. Overall grade: A-

The art: Julius Abrera is the artist for the issue and his work is good. The first panel hints at things to come with a vertical panel that begins with the empty night sky before the reader’s eyes go down to the running man. When the victim raises his gun, the fourth panel focuses again on the sky. There’s a good tease of the creature in the second panel on Page 2, with the creature’s feet shown in the following panel. The drop on Page 3 is a full-paged splash and Abrera nicely captures how far this individual will go before hitting bottom. The first panel on the following page shows the dead man from a distance, contrasting with his situation on the previous page and showing the point of view of the yet to be revealed D’Antonio. Shang is this issue’s straight man, placed in situations he’s never been in before. His visual responses to Skye are only lacking a sound effect for his many eye rolls. Skye looks great in this book, starting as a beaming teen while pursuing something of value, to concerned while trying to discern the truth of these creatures, and ticked off when she finally confronts them. When she’s assisted by an unlikely ally, she has the warmest smile. The second to last panel on 15 has her striking a super hero’s pose while changing clothes. This is something new for her character and I enjoyed it. The creatures themselves look good, with the first full appearance of one on 13 and the creatures on the rampage by the book’s end. When they battle Skye the action is good and a large panel on 17 is really well done, with the figures and the energy involved good. The final page of the book is a full-paged spread and it was a terrific surprise. There’s no dialogue on this page, so Abrera has to communicate to the reader solely with his illustration and it’s perfect. I liked this twist and the art smacks the reader in the face with this revelation. Well done, Mr. Abrera. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Jorges Cortes brings the correct dark tone to this issue with his colors. The first page has the character’s black suit somewhat blending him with his surroundings in the alley, and that’s the correct chord to strike, since he doesn’t want to be found by his pursuer. When the creature makes its first tease in a panel it’s accompanied by a screech that’s colored in yellow to make it resound on the page. When the victim is dropped, all aspects of him and the city below are easy to make out, with some nice highlighting on him to show the source of light is below. However, his tie has gone black, whereas it was a strong crimson on the previous two pages. The lighting effects in D’Antonio’s office are delightfully sinister, playing up the nefarious deal that’s occurring. When Skye appears she radiates with life off the page due to her colors, unlike Shang who’s darkened in his depressing location. The sickening yellow used for a character’s cries in the book are a perfect match for the sickening situation of one character. Starting on 13 the colors really begin to pop, with the gargoyles looking good and Skye’s costume being a constant eye magnet. The last page is primarily gray, but Cortes uses every shade of this color to make the final image of the book realistic and he succeeds. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios is responsible for this issue’s scene settings, dialogue, yells, sounds, screams, transmissions, and the tease for next issue. When a letterer uses a variety of fonts for different sounds it makes the visual reading experience so much more enjoyable and that’s the case with Esposito’s work. Page 15 has three very different sounds, each with their own unique font, and they look great. I especially like the first sound on the page, with it being hollow so that the visuals underneath it can be seen. There are also two different types of yells on the page, with the intensity of the first being stronger to the reader because of the font. I’m a broken record player when I state, Esposito always deliver a fine job to any project he works on. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Some fun character moments add to the enjoyment of a supernatural caper that has an excellent ending. Skye’s adventures continue to be fun, with her retaining the sass of a young adult. The visuals are consistent and the lettering is tops. This is an enjoyable 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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