In the wake of the Age of Darkness event, when the Realms were finally brought down in Grimm Fairy Tales #100, the Grimmverse has been chugging along on various legs as Zenescope introduced lots of new titles and mini-series, and even jumped forward in time to a year after the fall of the Realms to continue on its flagship Grimm Fairy Tales title. The series has progressed well in the last couple months with a new cast of characters and some returning old ones, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, for sure.
In the previous two issues we’ve seen some bonding between the different characters, as Sela and Shang bring in the next generation of Realm Knights, with one of them being Sela’s own daughter Skylar, and the other being Violet, Calie’s daughter from Neverland. It has been a fun outing, and now it is time for a different direction as some of the rivalries and biases start to make themselves felt. Belinda used to be an assassin for the Dark Horde, for example, but now she is a teacher at Arcane Acre, reformed and willing to lead a new life. It is a mostly good issue, with some good art, and that’s downright good for me.
Being the daughter of the White Queen of Wonderland, Violet Liddle has some biases against the people around her, none more so than Belinda herself. Through Skylar, we get to see quite a bit of what happened with Belinda during Age of Darkness and if I’m right, most of it takes place during the Realm War mini-series as an ancillary story. We learn how Belinda reformed herself and why she’s with Sela and Shang now, and this is something that Violet is a bit uncertain about. She keeps going after her in this issue, deliberately provoking her at every turn.
And I really liked that. Each character has a certain history and the new direction for this title seems intent on exploring these histories. Which is great since many of these characters are relatively new to me as a reader and by bringing them together Pat Shand is setting the stage for a bold new phase of the Grimmverse. Belinda isn’t a character that I’m all that familiar with either, so seeing some of her backstory worked for me, especially as it then segued into the mother-daughter relationship between Sela and Skylar. There’s a really interesting three-way dynamic between the three women and I really like how they are played off each other in this issue.
But that’s not everything however since in this one-shot Malec the Dark One also makes a rather startling appearance, throwing Belinda completely off her balance. Her life with the Dark Horde is something that she’s put away and done with, and Pat Shand explores what happens when she is given temptation and reason to join the Dark Horde, to turn her back on the students at Arcane Acre and both Sela and Shang as well.
Quite fun. There’s a pretty big twist to all of this of course, and I loved when that happened. For one, it shows some of the power dynamics in the group, and that is definitely quite interesting. There’s all sorts of ways that this can be played up for future issues, and I think that with this issue, Pat Shand sets up a great direction for the near future of the series, giving us a hint of some of the things that might be coming up.
And I find that very exciting. This is definitely a bold start to the series.
We have a new artist on this issue, Przemyslaw Klosin, working with colourist Ivan Nunes, letterer Jim Campbell and cover artists Ivan and Sean Chen. Klosin’s rendition of all these characters is quite different from what Andrea Meloni has done in the past two issues, and I think it makes for a nice change of pace, especially so early, keeping things fresh and mutable. There’s a very hard-edged look to the art here, and I like that, especially in some of the action scenes. But, one thing that turned me off was that Skylar and Violet look a little too much like each other for them to really stand out. And the characters are all generally a bit too lean for my tastes, making them look a bit unrealistic.
But that all aside, this was still a great issue, and next month things are really going to kick off once we get to see more of Hailey, so looking forward to that!