"Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Originally Published as Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno #1 - #5, Grimm Fairy Tales #29 and #41
Written by Ralph Tedesco and Raven Gregory
Illustrated by Gabriel Rearte and Mauro
2010, 192 Pages
Trade Paperback released on February 8th, 2011
There have been a number of adaptations and interpretations of the classic Dante's Inferno over the years. To my knowledge none of them featured a red-headed assassin. That's the basic setup for Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno, however author Ralph Tedesco aims to weave this story into the overall Zenescope universe.
Inferno is an interesting take on this tale. Some time ago, Mercy Dante, a killer-for-hire, hunts down her parents' killer and puts a bullet in his daughter's skull. It doesn't get any darker than that. With her ticket to hell all but cashed, Mercy is given a chance to do it all again and decides to take her own life instead of the girl's in a last ditch attempt at redemption. She ends up in her own type of underworld, but is awoken by Grimm Fairy Tales regular Sela to bring a wrongfully accused man out of the depths of Hades.
Mercy then shoots, stabs, and claws her way through demons, past kills, and more to get the job done. This is seriously like 80 pages of her just kicking ass until she has a run in with Satan, who's not your typical lord of hell...or a lord at all for that matter. Tedesco makes the devil part of the Zenescope world along with the Inferno story. This is handled very smoothly and it doesn't feel out of place at all.
While this book is pretty fun to read, it's a little light on substance. The main story is spread out across five issues, but it could have been done in four at the most. A lot of time is spent rehashing old stories, which is great for new readers (myself included), however it can really slow down the otherwise breakneck pace.
Gabriel Rearte handles the art for Inferno, but unfortunately he can't keep up with the speed of Tedesco's story. It seems pretty clear that Rearte is trying to mimic the work of Greg Horn as almost all of his panels look like glamour shots. Rearte is no Horn, though. While Horn can draw a beautiful woman, he can also put her into an action scene that looks natural. Rearte's scenes all look like the Mercy is posing while being attacked, as if she's always looking for the camera, ready to strike a look for the photographer. It looks unnatural and it really hurts the book.
Zenescope also includes reprints of two Mercy-centric issues of Grimm Fairy Tales in this collection. The first establishes Mercy's character as the badass bounty hunter that kills a young girl. This one also ties into the story of King Midas, but the comparison doesn't match up well. The other story is a prelude to the Inferno storyline and should have probably been placed at the front of the book, where most prologues go. It provides a glimpse into Mercy's life as she's now haunted by the little girl she killed. Sela gives her a chance to redeem herself and we end up at the beginning of the book.
Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno is a nice companion to the Grimm Fairy Tales series, but it is not as strong as the main book. On it's own, though, it's a story of redemption and one of a flawed hero trying desperately to find her place in the world. Mercy is an interesting character and her new status quo at the end of the story will definitely provide for some intriguing future plot lines.