Grimm Fairy Tales: Dance of the Dead #2
Story by: Joe Brusha
Written by: Anne Toole
Art by: Enn, Emmanuel Braga, Hedwin Zaldivar, and Ceci De La Cruz

Robyn Hood: The Tarot One Shot saw Robyn team with Mystere to take on Tarot crony Nataliya. The issue was actually pretty incredible because it in no way ended the way you thought it would. Mystere and Robyn are defeated by being separated and then sent to different dimensions. This leads to three different series: Robyn Hood: The Hunt where Robyn is forced into a deadly super-max prison, Grimm: The Tarot where Nataliya deals with the aftermath of trying to break away from The Tarot, and Grimm: Dance of the Dead which follows Mystere to some place called The Shadowlands.

I’m going to say from the get-go that I really didn’t like this issue one bit. The one glaring problem with this book is Anne Toole’s script. I’ve never seen more stunted dialogue in a Zenescope book and it is almost puzzling. I usually love Zenescope’s formula: beautiful woman + witty scripting = successful series. Here’s an example from issue 2:

There is just something really off about this exchange between Mystere and this pirate lady named Jasmine. I really don’t get it. It almost has a feel of a first time writer. The story here is done by Joe Brusha who has a great handle on his own characters. I’ve read books plotted by Brusha. I’ve read books scripted by Brusha. I know the man knows how to write a damn good story.  What’s puzzling about this is that Anne is not a no-name writer. It’s not like this is Anne’s first time jumping into the ring. She’s worked on various projects in the entertainment world from comics to videogames. While I’m not too familiar with her work I do know that she is a talented woman with a resume much, much, much, much, much, much, much longer than mine.

Much of the comic has this type of weird back and forth between characters that don’t seem to fit. Like Anne wrote a bunch of dialogue and then they just chipped away at it throwing it into panel after panel. Now if you are thinking, “Yes the writer writes dialogue and then they put it in the finished project. Nice work, brainiac.” that’s fine. But this almost feels like there’s just a huge chunk of dialogue and then they broke that dialogue down to fit in the panels. I just don’t know. I don’t even know if I can properly convey my thoughts. It’s just puzzling. It is like reading a Rubik’s Cube. I’ll admit that I sucked at the Rubik’s Cube, but still.

I guess I should review the book and stop bitching for a moment. Mystere is in the Shadowlands where everything is trying to kill her. Her powers are acting a bit wonky. There’s this woman named Jasmine who doesn’t really trust Mystere but decides to help her, quickly telling Mystere her origin story, then go off her…the woman she just said she doesn’t trust. I guess it is better than traveling alone. So Jasmine tells more of her origin story combined with other people or creatures attacking or something. And then there’s more flashbacks and more attacking and…I dunno. More stuff happens.

Look maybe I’m just spoiled. Zenescope is putting out such amazing books with Robyn Hood: The Hunt, The Black Sable, and Van Helsing Vs. The Werewolf that maybe my expectations are just way too high. I really think that is a possibility. Maybe it is Toole’s dialogue. Maybe it is the way editor Jessica Rossana tweaked the book. What I do know is that the book is consistent as both issues of Dance of the Dead feel this way to me.  I will say that the art here by Enn is pretty good and I’m digging his work.  So there’s a plus.

I was looking forward to this book after The Tarot One Shot because the other spin-off books have not disappointed. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue reading this book or not. I may give it one more issue but if it is more of the same I’m out.


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