In Review: Robyn Hood: The Curse #3

A friend returned, a monster revealed, and a half dozen new threats make this a page-turner.

The covers: Eight different covers for this third issue. Riveiro and Ceci de la Cruz have created an awesome A cover which features Marian wearing her leathers running at the reader. She’s got a smile on her face as she’s beginning a spell, evidenced by the circular incantations around her hands. She look great, the coloring is strong, and I love the sly wispy energy coming off her hands. This would make a gorgeous poster or print. Robyn and Marian are side by side, both caught mid leap high between two buildings. Robyn has an arrow nocked and ready to release and Marian is in the process of sending some magic at an unseen foe, as her hands are emitting energy. Both are rendered extremely graceful by Julius Abrera on this B cover and the colors by Robby Bevard give this a great nocturnal feel with blues and violets. I also like the lighting done on the characters. Marian is also the focus of Noah Salonga and Ylenia Di Napoli’s C cover. She’s wearing her leathers, looking calmly at the reader with her right hand scratching her neck. On a white background are five geometric red shapes containing unusual flora. Very nice, though her left hand is almost as big as her head. The D by Sheldon Goh and Sanju Nivangune is an action cover from a different point of view. Looking up from the ground, Sam dominates the left side of the cover, readying her magic to use on her opponents. Robyn is in the air, holding an arrow like a spike to drive into the sorceress. She’s being held aloft by Marian, who can be seen in the bottom right corner. The background is very well done and the colors on this are great, with the magic looking strong. Just a really interesting point of view for the reader to see this confrontation occur. Laura Croft gets some love on the Awesome Con Cosplay Exclusive (limited to 350 copies) by Mike DeBalfo and Ula Mos. Against a black backdrop that features the Zenescope logo, Robyn is dressed like the videogame icon, with a pistol in her hand, her quiver strapped to her back, a shredded gray top and tight, brown shorts. She looks great and this looks good. In-Store Exclusive (limited to 100) is by Derlis Santacruz and Sanju Nivangune, but sadly I couldn’t find a copy online, so good luck, collectors! The WonderCon Exclusives (limited to 350 and 75 copies) are by Elias Chatzoudis. Sleeping Beauty is sitting on a stool with a mischievous smile as she holds up a pricked finger. She’s wearing a dark pink dress, that’s low cut and pulled back revealing a lot of leg, as well as her garters. Behind her is the infamous spinning wheel and a copious amount of nasty, gnarly, and spiky vines. This is great. The more limited edition has the exact same elements, though she now has her finger her in her mouth and she’s minus her dress, leaving her in bra, panties, and stockings. Again, nice. Overall grades: A A+, B A, C C+, D B, Awesome Con Cosplay Exclusive A, WonderCon Exclusive (both) A

The story: In a San Diego detention center at night the lights pop on in one cellmate’s residence. The door opens and a police officer asks, “Como la muerte no libera a todos, no?” The man screams “No!” as he stands and the emerging officer, who wears the sagging face of another man’s skin proclaims, “Death is the ultimate release! And you may thank my god rather than yours!” The officer then brings the odd looking club down upon its victim. Writer Chuck Dixon is not done with the opening scares as his tale quickly cuts to Marian in a red hallway of many doors looking for Sam. Blood seeps out from under a door and then another, until the entire corridor is filled with the crimson fluid, threatening to swallow Marian. She looks up to see Sam, wearing a violet outfit, complete with cape, floating above her. Oh, and Sam has about twenty tentacles emerging from her back, their tips composed of eyeballs, spikes, and claws. “Why would I help you? An insignificant speck, a bacterium, a pitiful collection of cells. And what purpose would that serve in the grand scheme of the universe?” What happens next wasn’t surprising, though who else is present was a good jump, simply because it’s so ordinary, and this person has been anything but since this story began. Meanwhile, Robby’s whirlwind romance with Gerry Villariagosa is continuing, though it might be going too fast for her. This is a very welcome situation for Robyn. I’ve only been following her exploits for the last few years and I can’t recall her being intimate with someone. It’s about time she take a moment for herself rather than continually focus on saving the world or herself. This is long overdue! The pair of detectives who are investigating the earlier murder in a hotel room find footage of the opening murder, making them realize that they’ve found a link to their case. The arrival of some men on Page 12 tease a bloodbath in a future issue, while the individual on 13 visually teases that she’s not her usual self. I really enjoyed the reveal on 14 — I hadn’t expected that and my hat’s off to Dixon for doing it. 19 is a solid moment in the story, promising dire deeds if that character gets what it wants. The final page has a good reveal and tease of other dangers for Robyn and Sam. I knew there was something not quite right, but I never would have imagined that! The story is moving forward at a good clip, with all the characters looking to converge upon one another. The supernatural horrors are revealed to some characters and wonderfully teased to the reader. I need more! Overall grade: A

The art: Julius Abrera is the artist and he’s doing a good job with the visuals. His layouts are practically a storyboard for how this story should be filmed, should that ever happen. He starts with the prisoner in his cell, angry at being awakened. The police officer is slowly teased, first with silhouette, then a wrinkly hand, before being fully revealed in an excellent full-page splash on Page 2. The work put into the evil guard’s club is very cool, but is not clearly shown to the reader, leaving it to be revealed more so by the story in a few pages. Marian’s walk through the halls and the quickly rising ocean of blood is cinematic. I have to give Abrera kudos for his work with the blood, which would be just as excellent uncolored due to the amount of detail he put into the fluids. Sam’s reveal on 4 is also a full-paged splash and it showcases the (former?) friend’s new state very well. She looks great hovering above Marian and those tentacles are just the right amount of horror and the grotesque. The reveal on Page 5 is great, with that image being exemplary for an encyclopedia entry for the character. The point of view for the third and fourth panels on Page 7 are very well done, and astute readers will take note of the dripping blood in the third panel. The top of the following page has a graphic reveal and it looks great. 9 starts with a three panel visual gag that is the perfect accompaniment to the text. The characters that appear on 12 are only in two panels but they exude a tremendous amount of ominous tension. And I’ll admit to hearing Robert Rodriquez’s guitar work every time I look at that final panel on the page. There’s a great sick tease in the fourth panel on 13 that’s followed by an exemplary first panel on 14. Page 19 is the final full-paged splash of the issue and it definitely needed to be one — the artwork is fantastic and the reveal surprising. Speaking of surprising, the final panel of the issue has a reveal that’s the cliffhanger of the issue that promises much visually, but doesn’t say for what purpose in the text. I’m liking this. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Assisting the art tremendously are the colors by Robby Bevard. The colors indicate why the prisoner awakes on the opening page and tease the state of the individual doing the waking. Reds are key on 3 and 4, with every possible shade of crimson used to show a heroine drowning in blood. Take note of how Bevard uses reds for the backgrounds to show the budding romance between Robyn and Gerry. I like the black and white coloring used for the what the detectives see. The blue skies of San Diego are really beautiful, reminding readers it’s not just a place to visit for Comic-Con. The greens on 13 – 15 and 18 are outstanding, with the explosion of red and violet on 19 perfectly startling. I really like the work with the character’s luminescent eyes on the same pages. Overall grade: A

The letters: Taylor Espostio of Ghost Glyph Studios creates this issue’s scene settings, dialogue, yells, supernatural speech, sounds, an editorial note, and the tease for next issue. The scene settings are zippy, being in bold thin letters and slightly tilted like an arrow in flight. The supernatural speech is written in primitive letters, making the speaker sound as if its terror has been occurring for eons. The small editorial note, regarding language, is tiny, readable, and in italics to separate it from normal dialogue font. Is there anything Esposito cannot do with text? Overall grade: A

The final line: A friend returned, a monster revealed, and a half dozen new threats make this a page-turner. The story is building up steam, with the lead in a romance with a questionable character, while her best friend is discovering all sorts of evil. The visuals are good, with the art and colors working very well together. As soon as I finished this issue I wanted to see more, so I can’t give a book a better compliment. 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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