Writer(s): Joe Tyler, Ralph Tedesco, Raven Gregory, Linda Ly, Tommy Castillo, Christian Beranek
Artist(s): Mark Dos Santos, Daniel Leister, Ed Sharam, Tommy Castillo, Sia, Tone Rodriguez, Tommy Castillo, Sia, Nei Ruffino
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Exclamation: “Damn! You mean to tell me there is another one of them hawt Witches?!
Explanation:.Spanning a healthy forty-eight pages, this (first) annual of Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales series has six stories in it, all drawing inspiration from the same number of nursery rhymes and bedtime stories - Jack & Jill, The Old Woman in a Shoe, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Little Boy Blue, Pinocchio and Story Time. ‘Story Time’ is told in two parts, each half placed at the start and end of the issue/annual. As for the other stories, although the settings may vary from their original versions, there are familiar elements which make them (almost) instantly recognizable.
Examination: Although not remembering them by heart, even going into the issue I knew about five of the six stories listed above. The odd one out was "Story Time". After reading it, “Story Time” seems to have less to do with the any actual rhyme or story but more with upcoming events involving with the story-teller of the series, the witch Sela. Still, it did fork out in the end towards another known tale, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ (coming up in Grimm Fairy Tales #20).
From the others, except for Pinocchio all remaining four stories see completion within the pages of this annual. The Pinocchio one is to have its own special, (or is it a mini-series?).
All stories are told in the usual, pardon the pun, grim manner. However, given the twist introduced in “Story Time” all stories have a decidedly scary, dark, and more often than not, gory angle to them. There is no way anyone in their right mind and intentions would (or should) tell such stories to children, something that is shown quite well in the aftermath of the storytelling session by the new witch on the block, the redheaded Belinda.
Ranked in preferences, my personal favorites are “Story Time” and “Jack & Jill”, followed by, “Pinocchio”, “The Old Woman in a Shoe”, “Little Boy Blue” and lastly, “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater”. This ranking holds for the artwork too, with the “Jack & Jill” story, (illustrated by Daniel Leister & Nei Ruffino) having the strongest visuals and “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater” (Tommy Castillo) the weakest. About PPPE, the coloring was just too subdued for the story it accompanied. I would have much rather preferred to have someone like Mark McNabb, Castillo’s partner in the “Beauty & the Beast” story from the main series, here too. On the flip side, enjoying their work in the ongoing Return to Wonderland mini-series, I found Daniel Leister & Nei Ruffino’s visuals here almost as good as the ones there, if a bit less expressive. The others scored between these two.
Proclamation: Good but not quite as enjoyable as the main series. This one is mainly for the veteran readers, especially since the main series isn’t at all difficult to get into (for new readers) in the first place. Still, a nice time-pass, just don’t let the kids of your household get a hold of it.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at http://www.xcave.net
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