Zenescope Entertainment 2021
Written by Dave Franchini
Illustrated by Julius Abrera
Coloured by Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Lettered by Kurt Hathaway
Great evil has been slipping into the Grimm Universe over the last few months, and no corner is safe from its insurgence. Belle is about to discover this firsthand as she comes face-to-face with one of the most vicious and deadly creatures in existence: The King of Serpents!
I love Belle! She’s rightfully one of Zenescope's best creations who has been through hell and has found herself alone for the first time in her life as she carries on the family business. Though she has to maintain a day job now in order to save the world at night so as a school teacher she’s able to reach the young minds of tomorrow and do something she loves. Doesn’t make what she and Mel do any easier mind you but nothing is ever going to do that. Still these two women rely upon each other like siblings and that shows up beautifully in their banter back and forth, usually in the middle of a fight. While I love that we keep getting a few one-shots we really need limited series arcs.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. I like how Belle is one place and she’s needed elsewhere simultaneously and it’s times like this that her being able to call upon say The Black Knight would be ideal. The character development that we see is fantastic and as the dialogue along with the interaction between characters as well as the way we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter all help to flesh them out nicely. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way it stresses that we need to see more of Belle!
I really like the way that this is being told and how the layers within the story are able to really emerge and make an impact that positively affects the main arc. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is really quite well done.
I am very much enjoying the interiors that we see here. The linework we see is fantastic and how the varying weights are being utilised to create the detail work that we see is sensational. I really appreciate the creativity and imagination that we see here as we get to see the King of Serpents and Neverland. With how we see the composition within the panels nearly negates the need for backgrounds but that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t like to see them utilised more. Not only do they enhance the moments but they do add to the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a super solid eye for storytelling. The colour work we see through how the various hues and tones are utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is spectacular.
This is the kind of storytelling that makes you want to see more. Belle and Mel are sensational characters and the more I see them the more I want to see them and with Belle not ready to trust new people because of her run of luck with that is a great theme that runs through this issue. The depth and complexity not to mention the humour we see showcases why I love David’s work and his talent, skill and love of these characters.