Belle DiMarco is a beast hunter who defends the world from nefarious creatures. Find out who painted a target on her back in Belle Cursed by Zenescope Entertainment!
Writer: Dave Franchini
Artist: Rodrigo Xavier
Colorist: Juan Manuel Rodriguez and Maxflan Araujo
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Editor: Dave Franchini
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: September 27th, 2023
Previously in Belle: Belle is a descendant of generations of beast hunters. She has a sacred duty passed down from mother to daughter to keep the world safe from threats too dangerous for society to know about. Armed with weapons and her intelligence, Belle must become a nightmare to the creatures that are nightmares themselves.
Belle Cursed starts with Belle hunting a hooded figure on the rooftops of Philadelphia. She engages with the person but is quickly beaten in combat, as the target seems to know exactly how she would react and move. Belle manages to get a tracker on her and chases her to the sewers, where she meets an enemy from her past, the Queen of Serpents. The Queen of Serpents blames Belle for her condition, and Belle takes that blame before having to kill her to save herself. She then finds herself in the middle of a forest, fighting a werewolf who also blames her for her circumstances.
After killing the werewolf, she finds her brother, who blames her for the monster he has become. Then, she encounters a dark version of herself. This person is a shapeshifter hunting Belle, but Belle wakes up before the creature can kill her. She has been asleep for eighteen hours. Realizing something isn’t right, she finds a letter and starts hunting for her aunt.
Belle is an engaging hero in the Grimm Universe because she takes on all the tropes of a monster hunter. Unlike other characters, she isn’t a direct reinterpretation of her fable counterpart. I struggle with Zenescope protagonists because sometimes their comics have a ton of nuance, and sometimes they don’t. Belle Cursed falls a little flat for me, where the emphasis seemed more on these fights with previous enemies than anything else. The action and fighting are dynamic and look great on the page. The colors pop out, but the inner dialogue writing could use a little more work for me to get into the headspace of the character a little more. Otherwise, it feels like I am repeatedly reading about Belle’s guilt without ever coming to a resolution. And I get this is designed to lead into another comic book, but when we don’t resolve the issue after spending multiple action scenes developing it, well, it is a little exhausting.
I see what they are trying to do here, but I don’t know how well they succeeded. Belle has a lot of potential as a protagonist, but she has to be given more characterization than this. Despite the beautiful art, I learned nothing new about the character. With that in mind, Belle Cursed is a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Belle Cursed is an action-packed novel that fails to deliver any emotional resonance to the situation.