Advent Review #14: Grimm Fairy Tales #105 (Comics Review)

After the end of a first arc involving an evil Genie released in Arcane Acre courtesy of the silly curiosity of Wulf and Hailey, last month writer Pat Shand kicked off a new arc, a 2-parter that delved into Hailey’s origins in Neverland and explored why and how she came to study at Arcane Acre with the new Realm Knights-in-training. It was a fairly good issue since while I’m familiar with most of the other characters, Hailey and Wulf are among those I know nothing about and the new arc helped me get familiar with them.

At the end of last month’s issue we saw that Sela managed to intervene on Neverland and get the kids back to Arcane Acre, all except Wulf who got left behind, through no fault of his or Sela’s or anyone else. Pat Shand picks up the story from the get go after that and launches straight into the action after that. This one is quite the action-packed issue, by a good margin, and we get to see Wulf become a badass hero, even as Hailey’s life is completely turned around once again. Pat Shand certainly doesn’t relent on the narrative front and Andrea Meloni’s art fares pretty well under the pressure too, not as much as I’d hoped for.

In a post-Age of Darkness world, Sela needs very much to establish her dominance over the realms once again, even though she is no longer technically the Guardian of the Realms. And that is indeed what she does, even questioning how the Nymphs of Neverland are able to conjure dimension-hopping portals, which is a pretty damn good question since only Sela is supposed to have that kind of power, at least on a general level. There are lots of questions raised in this issue, such as why Hailey’s mother came to Arcane Acre to get her, why the Sirens are attacking the Nymphs in a genocidal war, what Hailey’s past is like, who she is meant to be, and so on.

Pat Shand is pretty good at covering all the different characters and letting each of them shine. Though Wulf and Hailey came off as goofs in the first couple issues of the new phase of the title (starting from #101, remember), the last issue and this one go a long way in cementing their place at Arcane Acre as serious warriors. That is something that Shang, Sela and the other teachers have been looking for in their new recruits since day one, and two of them get to realize those hopes in a big way, even making the teachers question whether the students are surpassing all expectations and assessments of their abilities and powers.

There are some big changes to the status quo at Arcane Acre in this issue, even a character death that leaves the others wrong-footed. Pat Shand does not shy away from taking any big risks like this, proving that everything that is happening here is quite serious and with some big consequences in store for the characters down the line. That’s really what it all comes down to it, and its pretty great, when seen in the larger context of the story that he is trying to develop and build-upon here.

Andrea Meloni is the artist in this issue, with Ivan Nunes on colours, Micah Myers on letters and Cris Delara on the cover. As usual, Andrea’s art is one of the many highlights of this issue, but there are still some panels where the art falls a bit short, usually on the scenes involving the Sirens since they all share a common design with absolutely no distinguishing marks for individuals, if there are indeed any such among them. And while the action scenes were great, sometimes the more character-focused were a bit of a let-down in terms of the character-work. When all is said and done though, the colours, and even the cover, help make up for a great deal of the negatives, such as they are, and the overall experience is still pretty solid.

Next month is going to be another arc, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing which character Pat Shand tackles next as the focus of an arc.

Rating: 8.5/10

More Grimm Fairy Tales: #101, #102, #103, #104.

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Posted on December 14, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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