In Review: Grimm Fairy Tales #23

A necessary, but quiet, issue that fills in the gaps of Camelot's backstory.

The covers: A lucky seven to pick up if one is a Zenescope fanatic. The A cover is by Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes. Morgan le Fay stands before the reader, her hands posed as if caught mid-spell. The wind blows the many tails of her skimpy outfit about. Behind her stands Merlin, his head tilted back as if wholly absorbed by magic, his eyes glowing orange. Behind them are the skyscrapers of the city caught in orange flame and orange lightning bolts. Powerful cover. John Royle, Jagdish Kumar, and Ula Mos have created the B cover that shows Mordred’s empress, Loralie, and Morgan le Fay battling against a blue backdrop. Each of the sorceress uses magic to attack their foe, with the empress employing a staff and Morgan energy from her hands. Solid cover that shows each looking evenly matched. This month’s “Good Girl” cover would be the C by Josh Burns. This features Loralie with a massive broadsword held on her shoulders. If one finds themselves seduced by her beauty they might miss the scepter she holds in her left hand that is radiating with violet energy. She looks great and the background perfect on this one. The final regular cover is the D by Harvey Tolibao and Nunes. This has Merlin with one foot on the corpse of his brother Mordred. He holds up his left hand threateningly to repel an unseen foe. The figure is fantastic and the corpses equally impressive. The background holds a tree that looks as though its composed of sinews and tendons, plus it’s colored in a hellish orange. Outstanding cover. There are two Holiday Exclusives (limited to 500/75 copies) by Dawn McTeigue, but I couldn’t find an image of either online, so good luck, collectors! I did find the Zenescope Exclusive (limited to 750 copies) by Geebo Vigonte with colors by Nunes. This has two new characters to the series take the spotlight: the Black Knight and Puck. She looks incredibly strong with her sword held to her right with both hands, while her diminutive companion holding two of his many knives in his hands. The characters look cool, the coloring on their metallic garb and weapons excellent, and that’s a super full moon behind them. Overall grades: A A, B A, C A, D A+, and Zenescope Exclusive A-

The story: “The Fall of Camelot” is an appropriately titled tale by writer Joe Brusha. The book opens with Skye arriving in the Realm of Myst after escaping Merlin and his knights. The Holy Grail is revealed to be an important item to the evil wizard with the Curator stating, “Merlin already has two pieces of the Grail…He must not get the third. The fate of the universe depends on it.” Meanwhile in Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table have gathered around the iconic object, with Morgan and Zodiac standing behind Merlin. The wizard gives the history of the fall of Camelot, revealing that he and his brother Mordred had a disagreement over a woman that plunged the realm into destruction. The story is briefly interrupted to reveal Mordred, now the leader of the Order of Tarot, speaking with Nataliya about resurrecting his deceased love, Loralie. The tale told, the heroes have somewhere to go to further their plans to deal with the growing threat of Camelot, while the villains show they are ready to start their attack. This is an informative issue that tells how Camelot rose and fell and how Merlin wound up in control of it. It’s interesting, but not much happens in the present. This information is necessary to justify why Merlin wants power and why he and his brother aren’t speaking. Next issue should have the sides clashing. Overall grade: B

The art: Deivis Goetten does an okay job with this issue. His settings are strong, with the first page demonstrating this by showing the graveyard of warriors in the Realm of Myst. However, the final image on the page is of Shang and he doesn’t look so good. A turn of the page shows he fares better with the other two characters who look better. The full-paged splash on Page 3 has Skye’s arrival and it’s from a very interesting point of view. I don’t understand why it would be shown from this angle, as it doesn’t clearly show her or the impact of her landing. It does show a lot of energy whipping about, but the character should be the focus. Merlin’s tale of Camelot’s rise and fall looks good with Mordred being delightful evil looking with flesh on his bones. Moragn’s entrance on 8 is wonderful, as is the close-up of the individual that ends the page. This final panel provides the perfect transition to the first panel on 9, cleverly showing how the character appears today. Page 12 has some excellent action sequences involving magic and Loralie looks great wielding that massive sword. The large panel on 13 is composed well, though the individuals’ faces don’t look the same as they were shown previously. Merlin’s powered up hands on 15 also look good and I love the snarl on Mordred’s face. The next pages show the quick battle between brothers and it looks good. Back in the present on 18 the Round Table and its characters are shown and the reader is simply too far away from them; it’s difficult to make out who’s who. The energy going into each character also seems frail. The reactions at the top of 19 don’t equal the action of the previous page, and the second and fourth panel on the page is, again, too far from the reader, losing all emotional impact of the moment. The same can be said of 20, while 21, a full-paged splash, is too far from the characters and a key character is shown from the back. The many characters are also only outlines of figures, again losing the impact of what should be a WOW! moment. There are some good illustrations in this issue and some that frustrate. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Jorge Cortes’s colors look terrific. The skies of Myst and Camelot are electric, so vibrant that their colors couldn’t be found in the natural world. Shading on characters’ skin is exceptionally well done. This can be witnessed on every page. There’s a nice job done with the energy swirling about Skye on the third page. There’s a sound on this page that would have stood out better had it been in different colors, as it fades into the energy too easily. Mordred’s iconic crown has this character commanding each panel he appears. I like that the same character has black dialogue balloons when he speaks in the present. Merlin and his brother both wield blue magic and it’s fully on display on 16 and 17. The remaining pages don’t give Cortes much to work with since much of the action is so far from the reader, but he does what he can. I also have to draw attention to the last word in the tease for next issue: it cannot be read due to the coloring. Frustrating. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Scene settings, narration, dialogue, whispered speech, sounds, Mordred’s unique speech, and the tease for the next issue are created by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. The scene settings have got a fanciful and futuristic flair as they lean to the right, pulling the reader into the panels they appear. One of Zenescope’s hallmarks in lettering is having certain characters have their own unique speech font, separating them from the normal humans of their books. Mordred has a speech font that has his words look ancient and diabolical. Overall grade: A

The final line: A necessary, but quiet, issue that fills in the gaps of Camelot’s backstory. It’s interesting reading, but leaves the reader wanting to see the conflict between the heroes and villains, which I’m sure will commence in the next issue. The visuals are okay, though there are times when they are too far from the reader, leaving little for the colorist to do. An okay issue. Overall grade: B

To order a print copy go to https://shop.zenescope.com/collections/new-releases/products/grimm-fairy-tales-vol-2-23

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Grimm-Fairy-Tales-Vol-2-23-Age-of-Camelot/digital-comic/729636?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9pdGVtU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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