In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales Steampunk #2

This is an okay book, but for $5.99 I expect much better.

The covers: If you’re a true collector, there are four different covers to track down. Renato Rei and Wes Hartman are the creative team on the A cover. This features the Sheriff, Dorothy, and Van Helsing with their weapons out to take down anyone who gets in their way. The women look better than the man and the background is very difficult to make out. Decent, but not great. The B cover is by Jamie Tyndall and Ula Mos. It’s a terrific image of Britney Walters completely Cyberpunked out, bearing a huge sword. I can’t think of a time I haven’t been impressed with Tyndall’s work and Mos’s work is also always successful. This is a cover to track down. The C is the Good Girl cover by Joe Pekar and Victor Bartlett which focuses on Calie pushing her way through a saloon’s double doors, her massive pistol still smoking. This is an well drawn illustration with the coloring strong. This is another cover to track down. The final cover is the D by Mike Krome and Mos. This is the cover I used to accompany this review because it’s the only one to feature Nathan Cross with his new arm. He looks haggard and fierce; the kind of individual one would want to avoid, especially if that cannon for a right arm was smoking. Nicely done. Overall grades: A C+, B A, C A+, and D A-

The story: In the past, in the center of town, Sheriff Shang and Deputy Dorothy have their guns out and pointed at Calie and Robyn, who have their guns pointed at the do-gooders. Their standoff comes to an end when a car pulls up behind the law and Cinderella tumbles out. Shang turns to look to look at the woman, distraught at her condition, and the villainous pair pick this time to run off. Later that night, mute Cinderella is approached by Robyn who says “…the law can’t help you find what you’re looking for. Not like I can.” The silent woman goes with her and the story transitions to the present where the two are being pampered by one of Snow White’s dwarves. Cindy signs to Robyn that she doesn’t know if she can trust White. Robyn says they have the opportunity to make a lot of money, but they won’t make a decision until Alice wakes. A loud noise ends their conversation and moves the story to the book’s conflict: the heroes have come to take out the villains. Pat Shand, Ralph Tedesco, and Joe Brusha constructed this tale, with Shand writing the story. It’s nothing but action from Page 6 on. It’s a realistic battle, making it’s way through one room after another, since each contains an obstacle for the protagonists. Last issue had Cross being the focus point of the story, since he was changed the most (losing his arm and gaining his mechanical appendage), but he’s not the focus here. He does have a moment where he struggles to use his new arm correctly as he does battle with a mechanical monster, but there’s never any question how that confrontation will end. Shang gets the big emotional moments of the issue, as he’s reunited with someone and makes a dramatic decision about an ally. The issue ends satisfyingly, though there is a door left open for more adventures. For a gigantic chase issue, this is fine, but since this the concluding installment of this series, there wasn’t enough time to become emotionally invested in the characters and what they do. Overall grade: C+

The art: The visuals are by Annapaola Martello, with Daniele Cosentino providing layout assistance and as backup artist. That final title is a new one for me. What that means, I couldn’t say. What I can say is the art is strong in some places and lacking in others. The first five pages are well drawn, with the opening two pages set in the center of town looking great. In the present, the fourth page has some very thin line work which is pleasing, but on Page 5 when the characters suit up, there’s a thicker line used for the characters. It does make them stand out in their setting, but gives them a heavier feel. The double-paged splash of Pages 6 and 7 is not set up well: the character creating the action is lost in the gutter, Britney’s legs are longer than her head to her crotch, while the other character involved in an action has her back turned and is obscured by another’s reaction. The setting is okay, though the item in the bottom left foreground is impossible to discern. None of this should occur in the inciting action. The next two pages are well done, but the pages that follow this are blurry, with the individual the heroes are battling simplistic with rudimentary line work to make it look metallic. This happens throughout the book: good pages followed by poor pages, followed by good pages, etc. The closeups of characters are great. A reader can flip to any page and see that Martello and Cosentino do an exceptional job on them, but this terrific work is slighted by momentary speed bumps in visuals, such as the creature that appears on 21 and the setting on 28 and 29. More consistent and better visuals would have helped this book immensely. Overall grade: C- 

The colors: There’s no knocking the excellent coloring on this book by Robby Bevard. The first two pages are beautifully lit with a yellow sky that instantly gives this book an Old West feeling. When in the present, the colors become more warm due to the interiors of Snow White’s residence. Sounds and screams are really bright, usually in yellow and explode off the page. Reds are used well in the final third of the book with it becoming the color used between panels; doing so really makes the action more intense. Bevard does good work on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: The talented Ghost Glyph Studios continues their winning streak on this book by creating scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, groans, yells, a mechanical creature’s speech, the loopy lines of Calie, the muffled voice of one of the heroes, and the final word that ends the book. The variety of fonts they create brings a distinct sound to every utterance in this book, with the sounds being particularly terrific. This element of the book is a home run. Overall grade: A+

The final line: I can’t raise the grade of this book too high because of the visuals; if they had been stronger this would have been a much more enjoyable experience. As this stands, this is an okay book, but for $5.99 I expect much better. Overall grade: C+

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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