Writer: Pat Shand
Artwork: David Lorenzo Riverio
What They Say:
Sela and her mentor Shang, along with their former enemy Belinda, have opened a school for a select group of Highborn and Falseblood teens with enhanced abilities. Their goal is to guide the teens who may one day be humanity’s only hope against evil from other realms.
Content (please note that portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mary Medina has always longed for a normal life, filled with magic where a princess could be whomever she wished to be, even the heroine. But unfortunately, not all dreams come true and when they involve the real thing instead of the stuff of your imagination, and that is when trouble starts. How she had wanted to go back to her childhood just for the briefest of time so that she can forget the problems that her heritage had brought upon her, but that is not an option. When she is forced to use her powers, Shang and Sela are prompted to explore what has caused such a large surge of mystical energies, and they soon find a trouble girl – with powers beyond her control.
Meanwhile, after the boys’ fiasco of the previous night, Skye and Wiglaf are determined to find out more about Lance’s agenda. He seems to be a normal boy, but why is he snooping around the school, wanting to know what is happening behind the scenes? How can they trust someone who isn’t forthcoming with their own honesty? However, their spy mission ends as abruptly as it begins when they learn that he wanted to confront them for answers to his own questions – and what he reveals is not what they expected; perhaps some secrets among friends are worth keeping?
Pat Shand has always been a writer who skillfully crafts his stories into works of meticulous harmony concerning the human condition, and this issue is no exception. The first person narrative by which he introduces Mary makes her more personable and endearing, since she literally pours out her heart to the reader; and considering the extent of her powers, this might cause some to find her disturbing instead of someone cursed and in need of sympathy. It is heroes like her who make reading Shand’s tenure of Grimm Fairy Tales a pleasure instead of a toil to get to the action scenes. His character development humanises these two dimensional figures into something more than drawings on a piece of paper. Mary Medina is a touch of Rogue and pinch of Violet … who wouldn’t be scared of her own abilities and want to scream to get the world to stop so she can get off?
And as if this issue wasn’t sensational enough with this amazing story, David Lorenzo Riverio makes it all the more captivating with transitions of a normal life into the horror which Mary now faces. His work of depicting her life and wanting to return to a simpler time makes it all the more tragic; then being forced to plunge headlong into a nightmare which would break a normal person, but instead she chooses to embrace her ghoulish gift. By considering her ancestry and power, the usage of a simplified calaveras mask when she activates her powers is fitting. The Día de Muertos vibe adds just enough of the spook factour without overwhelming us with the zombies which are being overused in pop culture now. But the best part is the way she battles – the splash pages of her minions popping up is hauntingly chilling. The contrast of the beauty of Mary and ghastly end for the villain is breathtaking and makes you want to root for her just so we can see more of this brutality depicted in its alluring carnage. Who could ask for more?
The introduction of a new character is always a welcome passage for a book, but when she is a heartbreaking heroine like Mary Medina, the joy and sorrow of such an introduction leaves one with mixed feelings. This new blood to Arcane Acre may add more chaos to an already tumultuous concoction of teenage angst and mistrust, but it can also lead to a path for the new pupil on how to best use her gifts. It may be a bumpy road, but it is through that journey that true understanding is born.
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: September 30th, 2015