Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #4 (Comics Review)

Among the many things that have happened in the wake of the epochal events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100 and the victory of the Dark Horde over the Realms, we have seen that tensions between the Dark Queen and the Dark One are at their worst. While the former glories in her new-found power and victory, the latter is increasingly relegated to the background and even insulted at every turn as the events of the recently-concluded Inferno: Rings of Hell show. This is the cornerstone of how the events of Realm War are going to play out and it is a most interesting time indeed for GFT fans.

After what happened in Realm War #3I was very excited to see how the new issue this past week would play out. Robyn up against Britney and Sela? That is Grimmverse gold right there. The mystery of what the Dark Queen did to turn Robyn against the good guys deepens even further in this issue, and we see how it further affects the already-tenuous relationship between Malec and the Dark Queen. And amongst all of this, there is precious little good news for the good news. Joe Brusha’s story and Sami Kivela’s pencils are at their best in this issue, though at times the artwork seemed a little forced.


If there is one thing that the new issue of Realm War does really well, it is to establish that that the Dark Queen Lucinda is absolutely batshit crazy. She is drunk on power and since she is at the head of the Dark Horde, none can gainsay her or act against her. And she takes every advantage of it that she can take, as she showed at the end of Inferno: Rings of Hell #3 from last week. With her relationship with Malec at its breaking point, it is as if she doesn’t care about anything other than her own power. Joe Brusha’s ultimate villain is a fascinating study in megalomaniac villainy and I love every moment of it, especially towards the end of this issue when she holds a grand celebration of all her allies and makes a few pronouncements that don’t go over too well with them. Gotta stay away from her is all I’m saying.

The heroes unfortunately are mostly on the back foot here. Under Robyn’s leadership, a Dark Horde strike force assaulted Sela and Britney’s meager troop in the last issue, and killed the one man they were all protecting who could help in the fight against the Dark Horde. With Vaughan’s death, Robyn’s complicity in the victory of the Dark Horde is even more firmly entrenched and in the midst of it all I liked that Britney took a moment to talk with Robyn, to convince her that she could still come back. These two have been frenemies for a long time now, and it was nice to see Britney being the conciliatory one.

But it is not so easy to bring Robyn back to the fold and the break of the final trust between these two women is almost heartbreaking.

There’s a lot more that goes on in this issue of course. Such as Wiznowski’s escape from Dark Horde forces in LA and his link-up with Sela and Britney. Or Lucinda trying to turn Andre Payne over to her side and convince him to betray Venus, who she knows is plotting against her.

All of Realm War is basically one big chess game involving betrayals on all sides, and this issue typifies that.

Sami Kivela is back for pencilling duties, with Maxflan Araujo on colours, Jim Campbell on letters, and the cover itself by Tina Valentino and Leonardo Paciarotti. As I said above, the artwork is pretty damn good here, but there were some moments where it felt a bit forced. And by that I mean that it could have done with a bit more inking I think since some of the faces weren’t so well-defined and that some of the characters had some weird expressions. But Britney and Baba Yaga against Robyn, or the final scenes with Lucinda’s great ball were just perfect as far as I’m concerned.

We are now a third of the way into the series and things are really, really heating up now.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Realm War: #1-2, #3.

More Age of Darkness: (Grimm Fairy Tales) FCBD 2014, Annual 2014; (Neverland: Age of Darkness) #1, #2; Robyn Hood: Age of Darkness.


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