Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Annual (Comics Review)

It is not at all common that publishers who don’t have the name “Marvel Comics” or “DC Comics” do any sort of crossovers or event comics. I mean, either their universes are too varied for any of it to really come together, or they just don’t have that kind of pull. Recently however, publishers like Valiant and Zenescope and IDW are coming up those ranks. Currently, various Zenescope titles are undergoing the Age of Darkness crossover event which units many of the publisher’s heroes and villains for a massive and epic story involving the age-old dark forces vs good forces. I’ve only recently got back into Zenescope titles with some of their new releases, and it is an exciting time.

Just a couple weeks ago we had Zenescope’s FCBD offering, Grimm Fairy Tales #0, which kind of kicked off the whole Age of Darkness story, although it has been in place since November last year. For anyone willing to jump-in however, it is a good starting point, and I’d consider it a must-read for new readers, as I am. And this week’s Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Annual continues that story as the heroes finally come together to address the threat of the Dark Queen and her Dark Horse. Ralph Tedesco’s story is pretty intense, focused, and epic, and the art by Andrea Meloni is quite top-notch as well.

Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 AnnualThis issue begins innocently enough, as a football (American football) celebrity and his girlfriend tour through the streets of London on holiday. But things take a turn for the worse when agents of the Dark Horde assassinate them both and it turns out that the footballer was one of the Highborns, a very select group of magically-empowered individuals, and he wasn’t just any Highborn, but a Level Five, which means that he was also one of the most powerful. However, he was unaware of what made him so special and he died in that ignorance. His death prompts the group known as the Realm Knights to get together and make plans to safeguard all other known Level Five Highborns, and this is when the story gets really interesting.

What I expected from this title was to feel the big scope of the story. International assassinations, a group of the world’s staunchest defenders coming together, reluctant heroes, betrayals and treachery, these and more are what we get in the 35 pages of story for this issue. And I loved every moment of it. Ralph Tedesco’s script, as I said above, is fast-paced and focused on the end-game. He gives a balanced perspective on several different areas of the Grimm Fairy Tales universe as it applies to Earth itself and we get to see lots of different heroes in action, heroes like Sela Mathers and Robyn Hood and Andre Payne and others. Whether having their origins in mythology or folk tales, fairy tales or religion, each hero offers something different and all the interactions between them feel natural and… right.

And more than all that, some of these heroes like Sela and Andre clearly have some personal issues in play as well, which affect how they approach what is required of them here, and what they have to do as well. It adds another layer of realism to the story and makes them more three-dimensional. I’m definitely interested in all these heroes and can’t wait to find out more about them as I continue on with this 4-issue arc that spans different titles and even catching up with various back-issues and else.

There’s a lot of interesting twists in the story and they keep things fresh for a novice reader of Zenescope titles like me. And that’s what it is all about. Given that this is pretty much a new ‘verse to explore for me, I’m certainly not put off by any possible similarities to events from the Big 2.

Andrea Meloni is the artist on this issue with Valentina Cuomo doing the colours and Jim Campbell doing the letters. Andrea has a very… soft and refined art style to his work that ends up being great for this title and with these characters. I loved his various visual designs and would definitely like to see more of his work. He gets to draw several different characters in this issue, not to mention some really cool action scenes and he is top-notch in all of them. Combined with Valentina’s excellent colours and Jim’s letters, the artwork as a whole is really excellent.

For all my experience reading comics,, Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Annual is definitely among the best that I’ve read to date and I don’t really have any complaints about it.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Age of Darkness: Grimm Fairy Tales #0.

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Posted on May 16, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

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