REVIEW: Grimm Fairy Tales #75

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Or – “Man, I Hope This Isn’t Like When Xander’s Teacher Started Eating People…”

These days it’s difficult for even the highest profile titles to break the 25 issue mark, so when I heard that Grimm Fairy Tales was hitting the big Seven-Five this week, I knew that it was once again time to check in with Sela, Belinda and the cast of nearly every nightmare I’ve ever had once again.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

GRIMM FAIRY TALES #75
Story: Joe Brusha/Raven Gregory/Ralph Tedesco
Writer: Raven Gregory
Penciler: Sheldon Goh
Colorist: Felipe Gaona
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Raven Gregory/Matt Rogers
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Cover Price: $5.99

Previously, in Grimm Fairy Tales:  Doctor Sela Mathers may or may not be immortal, but she is certainly long-lived.  Many, many years ago she became the protector of a book of fairy tales, which she used to try and teach people lessons to improve their lives (or, in some cases, to exact a little Twilight Zone justice, whichever seems more apropos.)  After a war against the Dream Eater, Sela has finally returned to Earth in search of her lost daughter, while forces align against her…

BUBBLE, BUBBLE, TOIL AND TROUBLE…

The opening sequence in this issue is nicely handled, as five oracular types (I’m unfamiliar with them, but given their references to the Dream Eater, I presume they’re not new to the GFT universe) discuss what has come before, giving us glimpses of where the major players of our universe are and how it all interacts.  Having read a lot of Grimm Fairy Tales in fits and starts (whatever crosses my desk on it’s way to the back-issue bin, mostly, with some recent study into the background of their universe thanks to our purchase of a massive amount of Grimm as a back-issue lot), I appreciate this in an anniversary issue.  Their foretellings lead us to Sela herself, who helpfully ruminates on her own recent life-events as well, bringing any lapsed or new readers up to speed.  Often times, writers can’t find a way to balance the exposition with the story, but Raven Gregory pulls it off.  Some of the dialogue is a bit stiff, especially as Sela arrives at her destination and transitions into ass-kicking mode.  Sela’s battle with the Dark One is a short affair, filled with familiar cliches (she’s more powerful than he could have imagined, his lieutenants are nothing before her sword, he resorts to chicanery rather than face her fairly blah blah blah), but tropes, in and of themselves, aren’t bad.  Sela is even hemmed by her own morality at one point, as the Dark One tells her that she won’t turn on him because she is too good in her soul to do so.  Sela gets the information she wants, and doesn’t even realize that she’s clearly headed for an ironic moment (something she should have seen coming.)

APPARENTLY, STALKING IS NOT ILLEGAL IN THIS WORLD…

I’m a little bit stunned by the next bit, as she simply shows up at her daughter’s school, ties up a teacher and substitutes for her lost daughter’s classroom.  Things get ugly, and I have to admire the plotting in the second half of the book, as we discover that Ilys, the aforementioned daughter has been raised by someone else and is less than pleased to find her mother under attack by some stranger.  From an artistic standpoint, Sheldon Goh does some interesting work with facial expressions throughout the issue, ably conveying a full-range of emotion, including some utterly anguished moments for Sela.  For my part, I was also happy to see that the interiors lacked the cheesecake factor that makes the covers occasionally off-putting, with Sela in full-on warrior woman regalia during her battles.  The ending is a bit shocking as well, with Sela (normally the thoughtful one, contrasting the late Belinda’s maliciousness) going right over the edge, and facing the consequences of her rashness.  There are some issues with the climax (The question of whether magical powers are a day-to-day occurrence in this world comes up) but overall, this issue serves as a decent jumping-on point for Grimm Fairy Tales.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  NOT MY THING, BUT NOT BAD…

There’s a tendency to dismiss Grimm Fairy Tales as nothing but girlie books, cheesecake comics without substance, but that assessment seems both harsh and unfair.  Having read a smattering of these books, I was able to come into this anniversary issue with an idea of everyone’s roles and the basic storyline was quickly and effectively explained in the first few pages.  There were two separate blonde characters that I thought might be Alice from Wonderland, but that’s less a comprehension issue and more of a contextual one, and the emotional punch of the ending isn’t lessened by those minor issues.  The dialogue tends toward the pedestrian, which effected my enjoyment somewhat, but overall Grimm Fairy  Tales #75 is a good’n, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I was somewhat surprised to find that Belinda is deceased, which bears some back-issue exploration, and I am at least casually interested in what happens next…

Rating: ★★★½☆