NIGHTMARES & FAIRYTALES: ANNABELLE’S STORY #1 of 4
Words: Serena Valentino
Publisher: Slave Labor Graphics
Years ago there was a fun horror anthology series called Nightmares & Fairytales. It was about a doll named Annabelle who would go from own to owner through the years, most of her owners meeting with violent ends all while Annabelle tried to help them. Yes, Annabelle could talk, in a way, but only certain people could hear her. She would try her best to warn her owners of their impending doom but many ignored her warnings.
This was a wonderful series and fast became a personal favorite of mine, perhaps I will revisit it now and again and share with you some of my favorite stories such as the tale of a young first named Snow White, and I was very happy to see it’s title on the new release shelf in my local comic shop this past Wednesday. I quickly snatched it up, not even know what the story was, and rushed home to quickly read it, right after I read Fables #100 and I was very pleased with what I read.
We find that Annabelle is still in possession of Gwen, a little girl who was first introduced in issue 5 and, through a series of events, becomes the charge of her new neighbor known as Aunt Bea. In that story, Aunt Bea had Annabelle and gave her to young Gwen for protection against the monsters in her new home. Those monsters included her parents.
This story has Gwen taking Annabelle to the town where two girls from the first issues of the former series lived in. Dominique and Morgan were lovers…ok, back story time: Yes, they were lovers, Dominique gave Morgan Annabelle during a date in a cemetery. This was also the night Dominique tells Morgan she’s a vampire. Naturally Morgan didn’t believe her and things quickly spiraled out of control for the girl as people started turning up murdered, in her mind by Dominique, people that were close to Morgan. Eventually, Morgan learns that, apparently, Dominique has been dead for some time and the murders may have been committed by Morgan herself. Eventually Morgan loses her mind and ends up in a mental health facility still haunted by Dominique who, posing as a doctor, takes Annabelle away from her.
As interesting as that story is, and that was just the first issue, Dominique’s story in the second issue is even more gruesome!
So, Gwen is helping Annabelle learn the final fate of Morgan. They go to the town where the facility Morgan was placed in is. After learning everyone in the place is dead, same as the town apparently, Gwen begins to investigate what could have happened to poor Morgan only to learn that the spirits of the past are very much alive and, in one case, deadly in this town!
It’s been a few years since we’ve had a N&FT story and this doesn’t lose a stop at all. Serena Valentino’s writing is both lighthearted and very dark at the same time and easily pulls you into the world of this rather interesting doll. The art of Foo Swee Chin (FSc) can only be described as a cross between manga and Roman Dirge. That’s the best way to describe it but truth is it’s very much it’s own thing.
The only real draw back to this is, while we get a very fast recap of what readers have seen before, the story is much more entertaining if you’ve read the first few issues, which are available in the trade Nightmares & Fairytales: Once Upon A Time… which collects the first 6 issues and also comes highly recommended.
Words: Matt Fraction
Pictures: Pasqual Ferry
World Eaters continues as the refugees of the Nine Worlds escape to our world as the World Eaters devastate everything in their path on their way to Earth.
But, I have to admit, this series has lost a lot of it’s punch in my opinion. Fraction, who I understand is a great writer, comes aboard and everyone in Asgard starts acting like, well, normal people. Thor is kind of a jerk one moment and noble the next, it makes no sense. This issue had Volstagg telling Balder “You are a terrible king!” to which all Balder says is “I know!” Asgardians don’t act like this.
My hope is this story arch, which really isn’t easy to explain, another fault this book has lately, ends soon and is somewhat worth the $4 a month I’m throwing away just to have it.
Let’s talk about the art. I was not familiar with Ferry before he came on board and I’ve got to admit to not being very impressed. This series had some really good art before. Always something to look at but now…well, the word ‘yawn’ comes to mind. I don’t think it helps that Ferry is seemingly drawing Thor to look like the actor playing the character in next year’s movie. It takes away from why we read comics because it forced the title to lose it’s own identity and makes it feel like a lame advertisement for the movie instead of a great Thor comic.
So, since I cannot actually recommend this series at this time, I’m still hooked on the character and will probably force myself to stick with it for the time being. Afterall, Fantastic Four was painful to read during the Mark Millar/Bryan Hitch run a few years back so I’m hoping this phase will pass and things will start to get interesting again.
On the plus side, we finally got Odin back…but now he just looks like some fat old drunk.
Man, I really hate talking down a series that was one of my favorite books since it was restarted…this is kind of depressing. Let’s move on to the next, and final, title for this week, shall we?
THOR, THE MIGHTY AVENGER #7
Words: Roger Langridge
Pictures: Chris Samnee
This is how a Thor comic should be done. It’s fun and exciting and has everything going for it…well, except for being canceled and next month being the final issue.
Okay, so this series is basically an update retelling of the early days of Thor on Earth. He’s learning our ways and falling in love with Jane Foster. It all boils down to Thor had a fight with his dad, some bloke named Odin, and was banished to Earth for whatever it was he did.
Honestly? There is really no amount of praise I can heap upon this book that would do it justice. But I’m going to try.
Simply put: It’s the best damn all-ages super hero comics being published today. It’s what we need: a fun, lighthearted story of a hero in a world he never made (sorry Howard) and trying to find a way to go home. It has some of the best characterization I’ve seen in a while and that, combined with the fantastic art of Chris Samnee, makes this one of the most exciting and fun filled comics I buy.
Thor, in this series, has had run ins with Mr. Hyde and Giant/Ant-Man and Wasp, both were fantastic but the fight he and the Warriors Three had against Captain Britain was probably the most entertaining sequence I’ve read in a comic book all year. This issue he faces robots. He thinks they are men in big suits of armor but soon learns they are just robots.
Someone has it in for the young Thunder God and hired two scientists who look a lot like characters from the Muppet Show (you’ll know who when you buy this book which YOU BETTER BUY THIS BOOK!) and sets out to destroy all that he has. He releases the robots on the small town Thor now lives in and, as is tradition, the townsfolk who once loved Thor now accuse him of destroying their town. He soon sets out to clear his name and ends up in over head helmeted head!
This book always has a few moments that make you smile. This one had two that I’d like to mention. The first is before Thor leaves to face the robots Jane gives him a cell phone. Thor’s response is “I…These things confuse me, Jane…” which is funny on it’s own but the expression on his face makes it a golden moment.
The other moment is when the local police shoot at Thor then tell their boss they are out of ammo. He tells the officers to reload to which one replies “No. He means…we’re REALLY out of ammo. That was it. Small-town budget…we never thought we’d NEED it.”
Great stuff and with just one issue to go in this highly praised and underrated series, I’m already missing it.