Zenescope Entertainment 2021
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Vicente Cifuentes
Coloured by Ulises Arreola
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios
The first ever Grimm Fairy Tales character spotlight features the return of Peyton Parks aka the Black Knight in a stand-alone story. She battles the Mysterious Lord of the Flies in fight that introduces her to the madness of Wonderland. I had to fix the blurb because it was totally off base in what said as Peyton never leaves the city in this issue.
The introduction here is really something great and it actually makes me want to see a regular cop book with these characters. Get Greg Rucka and let him write a series about the trials and tribulations of New York’s finest have to deal with the likes of Robyn Hood, Liesel Van Helsing, The Black Knight and more. Which with Peyton being a lawyer well let’s say it would be nice to see as this background character which could also lead into a series of arcs for her as well. Also seeing the Lord of Flies was one of those moments you will never forget and that’s what should happen, you see something and your reaction to it should be to want to know more about that.
I like 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 very well rendered. Now the character development is interesting because we see a whole lot of that between Peyton and Brin and while I am all for it, it seems that there’s more of this than Peyton actually learning about Wonderland or it’s existence. To me it feels like a soap opera between the two women with a side of action to showcase and strengthen their friendship. The pacing is really well done and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story, the characters and the twists & turns along the way it does create an interesting dynamic.
The way that this is structured is interesting and I do like how the layers within the story emerge and lead us to believe that a new story will be out soon enough. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow is really rather nice to see.
The interiors here are interesting as well. The opening feels like a different artists from the main part of the story and I really thought that more realistic approach is what adds to the desire to see them in their own book. I still think if she’s going to wear armour then there’s no reason to see cleavage, it’s impractical and looks like a lonely fanboy’s fantasy and with Zenescope becoming more grown up this needs fixing. The linework we see is great and how the varying weights are being utilised to create the detail work we see is really fantastic. Now I do wish we’d get more backgrounds, when in Peyton’s office to see all that blank space behind them is a tad disappointing. Still the Lord of Flies is a thing nightmares so kudos on him! The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a nice solid eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is really exquisite. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work show a beautiful understanding of how colour works.
I am completely disappointed that The Black Knight didn’t go to Wonderland or even learn anything about it considering what was promised. Joe is brilliant with story ideas but as a writer he’s hit or miss and for me this lands somewhere squarely in the middle. It’s a solid story, great premise but fails to deliver up to the hype also if it is going to be 32 pages that's pretty standard so oversized would be 48+. Regardless I love seeing Peyton and Brin again and I cannot wait to see them SOON!