Written by: Tom Sanford V, CC2K Contributor
Grimm Fairy Tales, the carefully crafted, often time gory, and always titillating take on classic fantasy stories is celebrating its’ first Giant-Sized spectacular issue. Exploring the history of its’ infamous main character, CC2K’s Tom Sanford is here to give you the skinny on whether or not this is a book for the ages.
Writer – Joe Brusha, Raven Gregory, and Ralph Tedesco
Penciller – Axel Machain
Design – David Seidman
Colorist – Jason Embury
Almost a year after first joining CC2K, I’ve finally made my return to reviewing comics with an issue from a series I blindly hopped upon all that time ago. Back then, my first reviewed issue read like a bizarre yet complex Pokémon battle between two Playboy models, whose pokéballs were filled with classic fairy tale characters. It was quirky for sure, and I hadn’t read comics in years, but something was just too maddening about Beauty and the Beast’s Beast used as a personal enforcer to let any kind of strangeness do anything but intrigue me. I stuck with it, and was pleasantly surprised to find a series far more consistently enjoyable than many books I’ve had to endure from both Marvel and DC. Since then, I’ve been a fairly stern advocate of the series’ quality and accessibility for many, including girls who I never thought would be able to get past the stereotype that comics weren’t for them.
One thing I missed that first time around, though, was what the point of Belinda, the series’ main character, was. Sure, it’s simple to understand that she appears wielding tales with lessons to be learned and bitter consequences, but who was she? I was too lazy to go back to the previous issues, and there would be bits and pieces, but never a full, solid explanation. Luckily, I can say that Giant Size Grimm #1 seems to be able to fit firmly as an essential to the series, while maintaining the same flavor and soul that the series displays at its’ best. Belinda’s existence is explained here from the very beginning. Just as you might expect, she’s hard-hearted and butt-kicking, just as all gorgeous fairy tale women should be. Traveling to a kingdom with a king seeing her for what she is, she is twice the warrior of most of the men.
Slowly, however, her harsh exterior is peeled away by an equally strong (no pussy, goofy Disney dudes here) prince and they fall in love. As with most Grimm books, all good things must come to an end and the story slowly descends into the harsh, deliciously evil aura that is laced within it from the beginning. The entire explanation of where Belinda comes from and why she is the way she is finishes neatly and not quite as expected, both of these aspects working in its’ favor.
The book reads like a fairy tale, and I mean that sincerely. More than any of the previous issues in this series, the depiction of a fantasy world, most specifically the dialogue, and the artwork in a simpler than usual but classic style all blend together seamlessly. That having been said, however, the adult themes aren't ignored, and for the most part are naturally integrated as a part of that tale. Sometimes the usual Grimm books, detailing human intestines and other wonderful types of gore, can make even the biggest horror film buff squeamish. The blood in this issue can only be described as classier yet still just as effective without sometimes making me want to barf.
This will stand amongst the series just under its must haves (Pinocchio, Little Mermaid) and well above the worst adaptations (The Piper mini-series,) and fit in as an essential issue, with anyone ever curious about the series lucky enough to have a perfect opportunity to pick up what reads like an excellent one shot and will add plenty of bottom to any confusion for regular series issues. Grimm has a fantastic creative team behind it at Zenoscope, not without their growing pains, but wholly capable of sprouting shiny gems. This issue is a great example of that.
4.5 out of 5.