"Beauty and the Beast"
Writer/Creator: Ralph Tedesco
Artists: Tommy Castillo, Mark McNabb (colors)
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
The first thing that struck me about this issue was the artwork. Noticeably different from the usual art style of this title, the artwork of Grimm Fairy Tales #13 has a certain fairy tale quality to it. Oh, there are but of course the mondo cleavages and the, uh, risquť clothing, especially for the ever mysterious Sela (thatís her name, right?), but along with the detailed and expressive pencils (by Tommy Castillo), it is the "painted" colors (by Mark McNabb) that makes this issue my favorite of the series, visually at least, so far. I speak as someone who read every issue except issue #4.
As for the story, in yet another first for this series, this issue's fairy tale is not a done-in-one story but rather part of an arc. Although I'm not sure of the length of the arc, I assume it will be two issues long. My assumption is based on my past knowledge about this monthís fairy tale and the point at which the issue ends. A arc longer than two issue might just end up feeling stretched out. Then again, if it gets me more of Castillo and McNabbís visual magic, stretch on. There is nothing Beastly about this Beauty.
Set in a present day "real world" situation (as usual) the issue begins with the two protagonists, the Beauty and Beast if you will, namely college student and part time waitress Jenna and her abusive boyfriend Drew. Just as Jenna is lamenting in her lonesome at her condition, along comes the common thread to all these stories, the witch Sela, or as she goes by in this story, Professor Mathers. Consoling the young woman, the good Professor also hands her "the book" with instructions for her to read the story of the Beauty and the Beast. Along not in the mood, Jenna accepts the Professorís advice and starts to read the story.
Right from the get go, it is clear that this is not quite the same story that many of us read in our younger years. Granted, the prince (noblemanís son in this case) does get turned into the Beast, but it is just an outer/physical manifestation of what is inside him, caused by a jilted ex-lover, one of many for Mr. Philanderer. Not only does she turn him into a hulking beast, the sorceress also gives him a rose. The rose is a sort of a timer; If he cannot find true love by the time the rose loses its last petal, Edmund (the noble) will be the destined to spend his days as the monstrosity.
What happens next is something I wonít spoil completely. Suffice to say, there is a Beauty, there is love and there is the Beast, only not all three together. Similarly with Jenna, she ends the issue by breaking it off with her beast, I mean, boyfriend, and although there is a prince, I mean, new possibilities on the horizon for her, there is also the still looming danger from her ex. Whether this story finds a happy completion (for Jenna) or a sad-ominous one (again for her) is something we will learn in the next issue. For now I think Iíll re-read the issue not only for the adequately paced and enjoyable story, but for the excellent art and of course the cover from the always amazing Al Rio. One last point about the cover: lately, Grimm's covers have been a little too busy and oversaturated in the coloring department, and this one could use a dialing down in that department.
Conclusion: There isnít much I can say about why I get this title except, well, "just because." Itís a sort of secret poison. Itís just easy, laid back, no-continuity and character screw-ups caused headache fun.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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