Zenescope Entertainment 2018
Written by Dave Franchini
Illustrated by Bong Dazo
Coloured by Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Lettered by Kurt Hathaway
The Grimm Universe is filled with heroes far and wide dealing with all kinds of threats, from vampires and werewolves to corrupt government organizations and ancient orders battling for control of the realms of power. But what lies in the deepest corners of our world could give the evilest creature nightmares. A threat since the beginning of time is rising, and only one person will be there to stop it from destroying everything. Introducing the newest ally in the war of monsters: Belle the Beast Hunter!
Well its been a while since we’ve had a character introduced in the Zenescope Universe that’s based off a fairy tale. So while there aren’t many ways to create a Beast Hunter origin without encroaching upon what’s already come so I can forgive the familiarity of this one. I guess Buffy really has ruined things for a lot of folks but in all honesty it’s a great way to get a character introduced as being an established hunter. This isn’t about her learning her trade, she’s already done that and as a woman in her twenties (guesswork here) with a network in place it was only a matter of time before her presence was felt.
The introduction is fantastic and Dave knows how to structure a story so that moves and flows with a graceful and natural feel is just an added bonus. Also that there are references to what we have come to know thanks to Disney, but the reality is the original story’s background on Belle is a far cry from is popularly known. I wouldn’t mind seeing that somehow come into play as well as her finding a Beast with whom she can fall in love and bring back to his normal visage, and that candidate is already presented itself.
As the story unfolds and we begin to wonder about a few things Dave is actually kind of quick to answer them. She seems to have a nice built in control centre, though it looks more like the Batcave to me. The one big question however is the one that Belle keeps asking and wondering about, though by the end of the issue the answer seems two-fold and only one of them is obvious. I like this there’s some great action, a quick recap of how she is who she is with enough left open to still explore, she’s fighting things that aren’t considered High Borns and if she is well then colour me surprised as as it stands this is much more interesting.
Well the interior artwork blew me the eff away! The attention to detail is exquisite and the linework is gorgeous and this looks, feels and screams superhero book. It is easy to see where his influences come from because I feel like I’m back in the 80’s at when this kind of work was a crowning jewel for any writer. The way page layouts are used so we see the angles and perspective in the panels showcases a strong eye for storytelling. The way backgrounds are used and the detail in those as well just expand the story we’re seeing beautifully. Then there’s this crazy stuff happening with Belle and her outfit with that filigree style mask and that she’s beautiful and strong without looking slutty or trashy is amazingly well done here. Then there’s the imagination and creativity on display with the beasts she’s fighting and again the details here—large heavy sigh.
I’m not sure what works out to be better one limited series a year or an ongoing monthly but with this book right here I can safely say that either way this should something everyone is talking about and wanting to get. From the look and feel of the story to the way it’s written, story and characterisation, this should the years biggest surprise hit!