GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL by Anne Toole, Marc Rosete, Eduardo Garcia, Renzo Rodriguez, and Joe Sanchez Diaz
The GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL provides a brief introduction to Mary “Mystere” Medina, and the plot puts her in her natural environment: interacting with ghosts in New Orleans, allowing readers to see her as a regular person and a superhero. The art comes from four creative teams who get what it takes to set the tone of horror. Although this may not be the best issue for demonstrating what the GRIMM FAIRY TALES offer, it is not a terrible way to enter the mood of Halloween.
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GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is the latest edition of an annual tradition in the Grimm Universe, created by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco of Zenescope Entertainment. Anne Toole writes the script, and four artists — Marc Rosete, Eduardo Garcia, Renzo Rodriguez, and Joe Sanchez Diaz — illustrate four different vignettes in this issue. This year, the focus is on Mary Medina, a character from the GRIMM UNIVERSE, born with the ability to raise the dead. Previous to this story, the six-issue miniseries DAY OF THE DEAD developed her character further. In that series, an occult New Orleans group seeks to use Mary’s powers to achieve their evil goals. Although she was able to thwart the cult, this trial granted Mary the super alter ego of Mystere. With this Halloween special, she is still getting used to this change in her life.

This, however, I did not know before reading. I’ve seen the GRIMM FAIRY TALES stories at my local comics shop, and I’ve always wondered what they were about. So, with Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d start with the annual issue.

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The Story is a Ghost Tour Clip Show

GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL starts with Mary Medina deciding to go on a ghost tour of New Orleans. This is a rebellious act on Mary’s part as it goes against orders from an off-screen character. She finds the particularly chipper guide with five other persons and begins the tour. This is when the true nature of the comic unfolds.

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Mary assembles for the ghost tour. Art by Marc Rosete; colors by Ceci de la Cruz. Image courtesy of Zenescope Entertainment.

On the tour, Mary visits actual locations in New Orleans: the Lalaurie Mansion, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, and Le Petit Theatre. At each stop, Mary experiences a vision, seemingly from nowhere. Each vision transports Mary back to the same time in history as the origin of the ghost stories. While back in time, Mary meets someone directly maimed or injured in the event that created the story. Whoever Mary meets falls to a grisly fate. These events bring Mary back to present day, often injured, where she discovers more tour members have left. The reason? The tour guide smiles and mentions people come and go on the free tour. This does not put Mary at ease. Once she figures out what’s going on, it’s not too long before Mystere appears to set things right.

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Mary Medina learns more about the Lalaurie Mansion in her vision. Art by Eduardo Garcia; colors by Slamet Mujiono. Image courtesy of Zenescope Entertainment.

Although this plot structure is a compelling idea, it’s a bit hard to follow the first read through. This may have been because I was unfamiliar with Mystere, but I believe it goes back to something more significant. Each time Mary returns to the ghost tour, members of the tour group disappear. Tangentially, these members resemble the people Mary meets in her visions, but it’s never quite clear if that’s what’s going on.

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The Art is an Impressive Coordination of Four Teams

Nevertheless, I consider the art one of the higher points of this issue. I partly chose to review GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL because of the art. The experience of seeing the work that went into the book was a great treat.

The issue has four art teams on display, each illustrating the stories of Mary’s visions. This gives each of the three flashbacks – as well as present time – its own style. First, there is the art in-between Mary’s visions – Marc Rosete draws and Ceci de la Cruz colors. The illustrations of modern-day New Orleans and the emotions of the characters therein are clear-cut and crisp. At Lalaurie Mansion, Eduardo Garcia’s pencils and Slamet Mujiono’s colors enhance the mystery and malevolence of the place; wide-eyed expressions of fear are particularly strong. Renzo Rodriguez pencils and the coloring duo of Fran Gamboa and J.C. Ruiz give Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop a pulpy, visceral feel that is my favorite in the book. Finally, Joe Sanchez, Alek Marmontel, and Walter Pereyra finish strong at the Le Petit Theatre; the hard curves of blades spilling soft gushes of blood provide an effective visual contrast.

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Mary fights back against the specter of the Le Petit Theatre. Art by Joe Sanchez Diaz; colors by Alek Marmontel and Walter Pereyra. Image courtesy of Zenescope Entertainment.

All in all, the creative teams behind the art of this book did a fantastic job and kept the narrative interesting.  Mary Medina’s various incarnations in her visions are kept distinct but visually consistent enough not to break my suspension of disbelief. Despite my gripe about tour members relating to the victims in the visions,  the art teams proved very capable.

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There is More to Expect from Mary Medina

In the end, this Halloween special is a competent introduction to the kind of stories readers may expect from Mystere. Although I’m sure she developed more in her miniseries, a reader can glean plenty from her actions in this plot.

For one, she’s very human despite her supernatural ability to interact physically with her flashbacks. Her visions scare, cut, threaten, and knock her around, but she still gets up with a clever retort no matter what. She may not understand her powers, but she’s not afraid to use them to rid evil from her world. In this sense, some of the superficial background information lacking in this story is not necessary. Mary Medina’s attitude and behavior speak enough.

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Speaking in French, Mary faces the horror of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Art by Renzo Rodriguez; colors by Fran Gamboa and J.C. Ruiz. Image courtesy of Zenescope Entertainment.


At the end of the day, I’m not sure that the GRIMM FAIRY TALES 2017 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is the best entry into this universe. It feels more like a capstone or even a filler episode for what promises to be more exciting arcs for the characters. Even still, I enjoyed reading the story, and I appreciated learning a bit of history about the haunted locales of New Orleans.

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For this reason, I’ll definitely be interested in giving Mystere’s new series, DANCE OF THE DEAD, a look. The Halloween special is a quality publication, as far as art and characterization go. Additionally, I’d wager that means the real strength of the Grimm Universe is in their miniseries.

Decide for yourself as both this one-shot and the series release on October 25, 2017.

One Comment

  1. Nicholas Ulanowski

    Nicholas Ulanowski

    October 25, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Hell to the yeah!! 😀


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