"Grimm Fairy Tales #101" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Pat Shand
Illustrated by Andrea Meloni
2014, 32 Pages
Comic released on August 20th, 2014
The Grimm Universe was drastically altered after the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100. The four realms (Myst, Neverland, Wonderland, and Oz) were merged with Earth. Tons of people died. Wars broke out. The Dark Queen set up shop in Las Vegas and the Age of Darkness was in full effect. You'd imagine that the next issue would be set in the midst of all this chaos and show how Sela Mathers and what's left of the Realm Knights fight back. That's not the case. Issue #101 is set one year after Realm War, the current maxi-series showing the aftermath of issue #100 and everything seems totally fine.
This kind of thing happens in comics all the time. A new status quo is ushered in. Some interesting stories are told and then things go back to normal. This usually takes a little while. In the case of Grimm Fairy Tales, the entire Age of Darkness plotline that has been built up for months was just negated with the first page of this issue. Sure, the gaps will be filled in over the course of Realm War, but what's the point now? I already know that everything turns out OK with Sela rebuilding the Realm Knights and the Dark Queen nowhere to be seen.
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If I can put aside my immediate problems with this, this issue provides the setup for what will presumably be the next phase of Grimm Fairy Tales. Sela has created a school of sorts for Highborn children to learn and develop their powers. The first class includes a representative from each realm and there's some dark secret about why each person is there. I'm betting they're destined to turn evil and Sela is trying to prevent it. If that sounds familiar to you it's because it's the same plot from Avengers Academy from a few years ago. It's also very reminiscent of the X-Men in general.
This new school, dubbed Arcane Acre, could provide a new vantage point for Sela as the Guardian of the Nexus. She could be more proactive in protecting all of the realms instead of reacting every time a new danger arises. This would also allow her to get closer with her estranged daughter Skye, who is also attending the school. Sela is now in the role of both the protector and the mother, which is something she hasn't had to do before.
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Andrea Meloni provides some solid artwork for this issue. I like that Sela is sporting a long trench coat over her traditional Wonder Woman-esque outfit. The design for Skye is perfect, as she's an average teenager who happens to have special powers thanks to her mother. If you walked past her on the street, you wouldn't even notice her. I'm glad that she wasn't depicted as a busty twenty-something in skimpy clothes because it just wouldn't work.
The other students of Arcane Acre all fit some basic high school stereotypes, but don't run them into the ground. You get a quick idea of the personality for each one based on Meloni's artwork. From the first moment they appear on the page, you know who's going to cause some trouble.
Although I have my issues with how Zenescope appears to be jumping forward with its premiere title, I'm interested to see where this new direction will lead. We don't know how the Dark Queen is defeated or how the realms become unmerged. That will probably come from Realm War. For now we'll see how Sela fairs as a teacher in addition to her other jobs protecting the Nexus.