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Grimm Fairy Tales #21

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2008
By: Bruce Logan

Raven Gregory, Ralph Tedesco & Joe Tyler
Eric J., Nei Ruffino (colors)
Zenescope Entertainment
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice"

Exclamation: "Damn you old man! That Macbook was f**kin expensive."

Explanation: The "real world" setting for this issue is of a college/university. The "reader" is a student by the name of Samantha Darrin. As with other Zenescope Entertainment Grimm Fairy Tales, this one too has the "reader" in some kind of trouble, facing some sort of dilemma. In Samantha's case it is the unwanted sexual advances of a professor. This student-teacher dynamic is also the focus of this issue's fairy tale, "The Sorercer's Apprentice," although there aren't any sexual hints in the fairy tale. Its similarity with Samantha's predicament rises in the form of the oppressed state of the student/apprentice and what she finally does to get out it.

Examination (Story): Having literally walked into the pages of the recent Grimm Fairy Tales Annual, the character of the witch Belinda has quickly established herself as the antithesis of the (good) witch Sela. As with last month's issue, it is Belinda who carries the book of fairy tales in this issue. Moreover, in what focuses the limelight even more on her, it is Belinda who is the main star of the "Sorcerer's Apprentice." This is the story of her origin.

Although I appreciate learning more about this character, this issue put me in two minds, something I have been having more and more since the Annual.

Past stories of Grimm Fairy Tales have mostly been stand alone tales focusing more on the characters written in just for that issue and less on the book-carriers, librarians, call-them-what-you-will, Sela and (now) Belinda. This seems to have changed. Playing off on the animosity between the two witches, the writers now have a plotline developing parallel to the monthlies. From revelations about their pasts to supporting characters introduced for them (the boy from last month's "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"), there is a certain continuity to these series now.

And I am not too sure how exactly I feel about it.

Prior to Belinda's introduction one could pick up any issue of Grimm Fairy Tales, read it and enjoy it as a single all-inclusive story. This feature was very useful to new readers looking to sample the title. This is no longer quite the case. Sure, newbies can read the individual stories and get most of it but in the end there is something that will be closed off to them. Heck, I am a seasoned reader and reading this issue before issue #20 gave me the same feeling too.

On the positive side, most of the developments that have been given to the Sela-vs-Belinda storyline have been interesting. I say "most" because I wasn't too impressed by "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Nevertheless, as I stated, it is still possible to read and enjoy each individual story. Just ignore the "something missing" feeling that might pop up towards the end.

As for this issue's story, there aren't many twists and turns about it, except for the ending which shows how Belinda went from being a poor helpless glorified slave of an apprentice to having so much power. Look to future issues to shed light on the time between the events here and her first meeting with Sela, and why they aren't the biggest fans of each other.

Examination(Art): Detailed. Animated. Slightly rough around the edges. Full colors. Emotional. That's how I'd describe the artwork here. The "rough around the edges part" is more pronounced for the human characters and less so for the animals/monsters. In fact, probably the best shot of the entire issue is the battle between the dragon and the giant bird.

Proclamation: Despite the "continuity" niggles, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a fairly fast paced and enjoyable story.

You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net



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