Continuing the great Comic Booked tradition of supporting all publishers and getting more comic book reviews out to you, the adoring fans, welcome to the Inaugural Issue of my new column. Just Another Zenescope Monday will be a weekly column to review all the comics put out by Zenescope Entertainment each week as well as a way to give you any news about upcoming events or new comics from this great company. We welcome your comments.
The one thing that has always impressed me about Zenescope is that all of their comics have really cool looking covers. Amazing artwork is a must anymore, but a solid story is important too. Last year I went to the Pittsburgh Comic Con and stopped by Zenescope’s booth. I was able to pick up Volume 1 of Grimm Fairy Tales. The stories were really some cool stuff and I did not feel like they were all just sex and violence. In fact, they were not nearly as graphic as I expected from having just watched the first episode of their animated series. This was really good stuff. Because of that, I will be giving you, the fans, a taste of each new comic as a short review and some art to tease you and get you to run down to your local comic shop and pick up whatever Zenescope is selling this week.
For this first installment of Just Another Zenescope Monday, you get a special treat. I will be quick reviewing every book that Zenescope put out for the month of April 2014 along with a short “story so far”. Think of this as your Zenescope Primer. This way, you won’t feel like you missed something and next week we can start into the first week of May with a regular review of the books for that week. Tally ho!
Grimm Fairy Tales #96 – Part of “Age of Darkness”. This is really the flagship title of Zenescope, and the one defining book that all the other series have sprung from. The basics are that what we consider fantasy worlds, actually exist. Wonderland, Neverland, Oz, and Myst, are worlds populated by beings known as Highborns. When a Highborn and human have a child, they are called Falsebloods. Sela Mathers is a Falseblood who has been given the responsibility of leading other Falsebloods and protecting the Earth. The current battle is against Baba Yaga, the witch, who wants to release Helios, god of the sun. Sela has teamed up with Koschei to keep Helios from being released, but as she clashes with Baba Yaga, the truth comes out that Helios has chosen this exile for himself. In the end, Koschei’s true plans are revealed and the three, Helios, Baba Yaga, and Sela, must fight against him and his spirit horde. Elsewhere, Gina, Helios’ sister, is attacked by Winter Witch and taken captive while Baba Yaga has to release Helios from the dampening collar and he uses his powers to defeat Koschei’s horde. This is quite an action packed issue.
Grimm Firy Tales presents Ascension #3 – Quick background on this book: Five beings of immense power, the Keepers, protect the Earth and every other realm. The Maker is their leader and he created a son who is known only as the Being. The Being became a threat to the Keepers because his heart was not pure. The Maker, seeing no other options, imprisoned his own son in the the Shadowlands, a place of pure evil. Now, centuries later, the Being has found a means of escape and opened the gates of the Shadowlands to release the evil denizens of that place upon the Earth. His first act upon gaining his freedom was to find and murder his own father and now he has set his sights on becoming the new god of all humanity. The Being then went about gathering his own group of super powered beings to battle the other Keepers and take what he believes to be his rightful place as ruler of everything. This issue has some great confrontation between the Being and his forces and the team of Earth’s defenders. Death, destruction, reunions, and more death. Definitely check this out and it may not be too late to go pick up the whole series so far.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Helsing #1 – This is the story of Liesel Van Helsing, a woman born in the 1800’s, and the daughter of the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. She followed in her father’s footsteps and created some ingenious weapons to fight the supernatural. She was trapped in the Shadowlands, a hellish dimension for over 100 years and has recently been released. She is now trying to establish a normal life of vampire hunting in this strange new time. If you are a fan of snarky vampire hunters, you will love Liesel Van Helsing. A steampunk lady with a penchant for violence, she is still having a hard time with this new world. She is even trying to date… of course she just happens to be dating Hades, god of the underworld. In this issue, Liesel receives a package from a mysterious source. It is one of her father’s old journals and it presents a deep mystery of a time when her father lived in New york and fought a vampire that could not be harmed by stakes. She immediately takes off to Italy to meet a man named Harker. Pat Shand writes a cool vampire story and the artwork of Tony Brescini and Andress Esparza completes this beautiful issue.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Wonderland #22 – Eric M. Esquivel and JG Miranda take us back to Wonderland, a twisted place that feeds off the sanity of the people who were sacrificed there. Calie Liddle, daughter of Alice, is one of the few who has ever escaped that crazy world. Now she returns there to find her long lost daughter, Violet. In this issue, Calie is being given all the secrets of Wonderland by a mysterious group of four cosmic beings. Then she is hurled to the ground and is shocked to learn the true nature of Wonderland. She learns that Wonderland was once just a void, then a sentient dimensional being, and finally a place of dreams. Those dreams have been perverted by those who have exerted control over the world, most recently, Jabberwocky, an old god. It is revealed that Calie’s brother, Johnny, who was cast into Wonderland, has become a major force for evil, furthering the Jabberwocky’s machinations. Finally, Calie is told that if she can but imagine something it will be real, just in time to enter a new battle with a mysterious enemy.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Robin Hood: Legend #2 – Robyn Locksley was a woman taken from Earth into the magical realm of Myst. There she has had many adventures, including saving a village, battling Guy of Gisbourne, and coming up against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Now, teamed up with Gisbourne and Will Scarlet, Robyn has returned to the land of Myst to try to defeat the evil Sheriff for good. The internal conflicts among this team of enemies that must band together as the only hope that Myst has is what really holds this story above many others on the shelves currently. There is so much going on here that I recommend you try to pick up #1 and read through the this mini- series, even run out and pick up the trade paperbacks for the previous series. This is a good one, well written and the art is awesome.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Godstorm Hercules Payne #1 – As an expansion on the original idea that worlds of imagination were real places that existed, this series continues that by stating that the Greek and Roman gods actually exist as well. This series is about Hercules Payne, the son of Zeus. This is a very interesting story about two brothers in Compton on opposite sides of the law. We are shown another man, Terrell Taylor, a man imbued with some powers, although he has used them as a drug dealer and all around crime boss extending his control over more and more of L.A.. The police are closing in, but this issue closes with more questions than answers. It is a hard story in a hard city. I liked the turmoil and familial issues that the characters had to deal with, but there was also a good gun fight and some torture. I will be coming back for issue #2.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Neverland #2 – Another story in the “Age of Darkness” storyline. Neverland is not just an imaginary land where children never have to grow up, it is all too real. Having saved Wendy’s nephews from Pan of Neverland, Nathan Cross thought he could settle down. Joining the Realm Knights program was something he could not pass up. Now, as Wendy’s and Cross’ relationship falters, Nathan is faced with an unknown force opening portals between Earth and Neverland. As the battle rages and things look bleak, in charges Wendy, grenades flying. The team jumps through a portal in the sewer and ends up back in Neverland only to find an orc camp with crates of weapons? No, crazed goblins. A whole army of them. Nathan finds Tinker Belle, the fairy, and the gang makes plans to stop the orcs before they slaughter everyone in the Indian Village. A fast paced story and very fun, but with just enough blood and guts.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Code Red #5 – An “Age of Darkness” tie-in. Britney Waters is “Agent Red” and also a Realm Knight working for Hibocorp protecting Earth against the forces of the supernatural. In the course of doing her duty to protect Earth, Agent Red has to make a choice to give up a weapon of mass destruction to the evil orc horde or watch her friends die. All seems hopeless, when salvation comes from a crazy creature who was jealous that her kill was to be taken away. In the end, Red and her people win the battle, but the weapon, the Cyclops’ Eye, falls into the hands of the Dark Horde and they may have lost the war. Tune in next issue to see the impact of this shift of power.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Inferno: Age of Darkness – A one-shot in the “Age of Darkness” continuing storyline. Mercy Dante was an assassin that traded her own life to save her sister’s soul from Hell. She now works for Lucifer and hunts down escaped souls. With the Age of Darkness looming, the Dark One, leader of the Dark Horde, approached Lucifer to have them join forces. There is a lot revealed in this issue and it really drives the whole plot of the “Age of Darkness” storyline along. I don’t want to spoil such an important issue so you really should get a hold of it. You will find out quite a bit about Lucifer in this issue as well as meet a cool new character and understand a little more about the Dark Lord’s plans. There is definitely a cool story being crafted and really something to look forward to.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Wonderland: Clash of Queens #3 -Another entry in the “Age of Darkness” story. The fours queens of Wonderland, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, and Clubs, are battling each other over control of the famed blade that killed the Jabberwocky, the Ebony Blade. The introduction of a new player, the Trickster, has many of the queens very concerned. As the Trickster visits each queen in turn, feeding them each the same line of how she knows who it was that slaughtered the other’s soldiers… some are more willing to believe than others. The revelation that the Queen of Spades has been spying on the Queen of Hearts is enough to win Heart’s favor for the Trickster. As things progress, the Ebony Blade is finally captured, but with the Queen of Hearts free from Spade’s thrall, she takes matters into her own hands and captures the Blade for her own purposes. Quite a shake up of the balance of power.
Grimm Fairy Tales presents Wonderland: Asylum #4 – This story is set a few months before the current Wonderland series, taking place prior to issue #19. Calie Liddle and her daughter, Violet, had to battle against two assassins, the Mad Hatter and Dark Cheshire Cat. Calie seemingly was killed while Violet has fled through the Looking Glass into Wonderland. Violet has now been called on to be the new Mad Hatter, and it may be the only way to save her family from Wonderland. This issue begins with a surreal wedding between the Void, the dimensional being that is all of Wonderland, and a very reluctant bride, Violet. As the Mad Hatter enters the scene, things get a little bloody and the Void spills the beans about Violet’s destiny to become the new Hatter, which the current Hatter does not take kindly to. The best thing about this issue is that we get the whole origin tale that ties all the comics of Zenescope together. The Keepers created the four realms, the Void, formerly the Dreamer, was the sustainer of Wonderland, and was empty until he saw Violet. Now he loves her and only her acceptance of him can make things better. What will happen to Wonderland, the Void, and Violet?
Now you are all caught up for the month of April 2014 and should have a pretty solid background to understand what is going on and where the Zenescope Universe is headed. Stay tuned next week for another installment of Just Another Zenescope Monday.