In Review: The Little Mermaid #5

This modern spin on the classic character takes her into unexpected and enjoyable directions.

The covers: A trio to catch in your net for this final issue. The A cover is by Miguel Mendonca and Ivan Nunes. It features Erica sitting on an outcropping of rock that the classical character sits upon, but coming from behind her are eight monstrous aquamen created by the mad scientist that’s been experimenting on her. I would expect the mermaid to be frightened by this onslaught of creatures, but instead she’s making fists and snarling at her attackers, looking as though she’s ready to beat the tar out of them. This ain’t your daddy’s Little Mermaid! Good artwork with solid coloring. If you look closely you can see that this background is a photograph. This is a rare case where it fits seamlessly with the art. A transformation that looks to be a take on Paul Smith’s cover for The Uncanny X-Men #165 is done by Emilio Laiso for Cover B. A beautiful red headed woman in a bikini screams and hold her head. She twists violently to her left, a mermaid tail replacing her legs. At the bottom of the cover the woman has transformed into a Medusa-like monster with claws and a grotesque tail. This is a pretty creepy illustration with bright colors that refuse to hide what the woman becomes. Icky cool. Mike Krome and Ula Mos do the C cover featuring Erica coming out of the ocean resplendent in the ornate jewelry of her people. This is beautiful and the image I had to use for this review. Overall grades: A B+, B A-, and C A+ 

The story: “Homecoming”, a story by Joe Busha and written by Meredith Finch, begins with title character Erica finally free from her captors and swimming in the ocean. She thinks, ‘I didn’t realize just how much a part of me my siren self had become, until it was taken. Never again will I be afraid to fully embrace who and what I am.’ As she reveals this she transforms into the full mer-creature she is, with glowing orange eyes, a forehead that resembles a shell, grey skin, and sharp teeth and talons. A voice then tells her that she should be done running. This spurs her to believe that she should be done being afraid and swims back to the institute she escaped from. Watching from her magic mirror, the Sea Witch hisses, “That’s my girl.” Back at the institute, all heck has broken look as her father, the King of Atlantis, and his soldiers have arrived to rescue his daughter, only to be confronted by the monstrous army created by the scientist in charge. Things aren’t going well, and get worse when a powerful weapon is used. An arrival on 9 is not expected by anyone and turns the tide of the battle. The actions on Page 13 had me expecting the result on 14. That wasn’t really much of a surprise as it only increases the drama, but 17 was downright spectacular. That was a “Holy crud!” moment. Even better, it was hinted at early, but I just casually read by that clue. The reaction to this event was also surprising, and funny, and appropriate. 20 has the next logical step in the story, leading to an overdue reunion, and a nice ending. Though this was the obvious conclusion, by 20, the narration on the page gave it a nice twist. This was a satisfying conclusion. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on this book are good. The first four pages focus solely on the title character and Miguel Mendonca has got a consistent handle on how to illustrate her. He does an excellent transformation scene between two panels on the first page. The last panel on Page 2 is nice riff of the scene from the Disney film when water swirls around her. Mendonca does the resolution on her face very well. The double-page spread on 10 and 11 is the highlight of the book. It’s written to be so and Mendonca does not disappoint. There’s a nice Michelangelo interpretation on 11 that foreshadows an immediate event. I don’t like the layout of the key events on Pages 12 and 13. There’s a lot of wasted space. I don’t understand how else to draw it, but side by side, there’s too much emptiness. The pose of the character in the foreground at the bottom of 13 looks cheesy, especially with the squinty eye. However, I love the escalating close-up on the character at the bottom of 17, which made the final panel all the more explosive. The layout on 20 was perfect; this was cinematic. I really like the uncertain look of the character on the final page which gives strength to the words that are being thought. The second panel on Page 18 needs to be mentioned because it brings a bit of humor to the story, and it’s the only place there is any in this issue. After the violent action on 16, this was a welcome bit of visual humor. Overall grade: A

The colors: This was an excellent job throughout by Jorge Alberto Cortes. The lighting effects in the water are sharp beginning right when Erica dives into the ocean. Cortes really does some nice highlighting on the monstrous persona of Erica, with those glowing orange eyes creepy as all get out. Pages 2 and 3 continue the effective lighting and add violet for the Sea Witch’s dialogue. This is a good color to use to alert readers to who’s speaking and it matches this villainess’s skin. When energy comes out of the weapon on Page 7 it’s extremely powerful. The only panel to surpass this for brightness is the arrival of a character on 9. The effect that’s done at the top of 17 is done with sound and using violet was an excellent way to tease the Witch’s influence. The final page is beautiful in greens and gave the book a fitting royal ending. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, dialogue, sounds, screams, yells, and the series’ “Fin” are created by Ghost Glyph Studios. The sounds are excellent with the issue’s PKKSH being the strongest and most — perfectly — disgusting. Overall grade: A

The final line: A good conclusion to an fun series. I hope this isn’t the end because I’d love to see this character again. This modern spin on the classic character takes her into unexpected and enjoyable directions. Overall grade: A

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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