Review by Frank Plowright
Grimm Fairy Tales began as a series where people saw their circumstances reflected in old fairy tales in a book either directly or indirectly provided to them by lecturer Sela Mathers. She’s subsequently began to take a more direct hand, and Vol. 3’s stories more directly showed what she’s capable of, and what her purpose is. Writers Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco have also introduced an opposite to Sela, a malevolent temptress named Belinda, who manipulates people into unleashing their inner demons, and she’s seen several times. She captures a soul dring a clever piece of storytelling juxtaposing the fairy tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf more directly with modern day events than seen before, and in the following adaptation of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice we learn what she is.
Raven Gregory writes half the stories here, taking her plots from Tyler and Tedesco, and a greater continuity applies, with a recurring character, Timmy. Unfortunately Timmy’s introduction, a story referenced, isn’t included here or in Vol. 3, where it was also referenced. It’s a sloppy oversight. Timmy is acquainted with Belinda, and with the Snow Queen, neither of whom shows much consideration for mankind, and while we learn a lot about, them, it’s not as satisfying as earlier outings. The fairy tales are still included, but increasingly tenuously, and the narrative has now become the battle between two women for the destiny of mankind, and as such it’s uninspired fantasy/horror combination seen so often elsewhere. It’s strange that Tyler and Tedesco should so willingly discard the originality from a series that had been thriving on it.
The misproportioned figures of Kris Carter are an exception, but the art is again a step up from previous volumes. Joe Dodd, who drew the first outing in Vol. 1 is the first returning artist, and better than before, while the sample art is provided by Ashok Badana and Jordan Gunderson. Mark Dos Santos is decent enough here, and would go on to do better.
An undignified ending to the main continuity seems to indicate a change of direction to be played out in Vol. 5, while Gregory and Dan Wickling provide a short story leading into spin-off series 1001 Arabian Nights. It’s nicely drawn by Renato Camilo.