Review: Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special 2013

When it comes to Holiday Specials, Halloween is king. It doesn't imply the need for forced sentimentality like Christmas Specials do and makes campy nonsense and horror cliches more readily consumable and fun. I imagine however that Zenescope faces a challenge every year writing the 'Grimm Fairy Tales' Halloween specials; how do you make it feel different from the rest of the publishing year when your book is already boobs, gore, and horror inspired fairy tale monsters? According to the credits it took four people to decide the answer was slutty Halloween costumes. The story is three of the heroines from the Zenescope Grimm line, Robyn Hood, Red Riding Hood, and Sela Mathers are all invited to a Halloween costume party that turns out obviously to be a trap, locking them in a creaky old house where they are separated and subjected to various character specific trials. It's an old idea; most memorably done in the Buffy episode 'Fear, Itself', but if done properly can be a great structure for spooky hijinks. This is a Zenescope book of course so our three regularly implausibly dressed characters are magically forced into tacky 'sexy' Halloween costumes; 'sexy schoolgirl', 'sexy nurse', you get the idea and it sucks. There's some gore, punching, then it ends.

GFTHAL2013_coverBIt's not awful, but it's predictably not very creative with the arranged parts either. From the plotting to the dialogue everything is textbook, lacking personality or the capacity for surprise. It's a Halloween Special for a cheap ratty franchise so I was a bit more forgiving; actually liking the set-up from a camp standpoint, but the hollow lazy writing only set the bar slightly higher than being a total chore to read. If the book has a fatal flaw it's the conclusion which lacks resolution and seems unconcerned with the main characters, just half-assed foreshadowing of later books.

It's is made slightly more readable by its acceptable art, handled by four different artists each doing different sections. It's nothing too exciting and one of the artist/colorist teams looks pretty ugly, but the rest is serviceable with one section featuring the Headless Horseman actually given some atmosphere by okay lines and some notably attractive color work.

It's generally crap, but as it's built on a crappy franchise to begin with so it's slightly more than my meager expectations. There's nothing wrong with the haunted house cheesecake premise, but even bad slasher films have to have some sort of personality to be entertaining; that's why you would watch 'Scream 2' or 'Idle Hands' on Halloween but not 'Urban Legends' or the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' remake. No harm, no foul though, since the only people who are likely to buy this comic are the ones who have kept this substandard franchise alive for this long and for the most part it is par for the course.

Score: 2/5

Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dan Wickline and Pat Shand Writers: Dan Wickline, Pat Shand Artists: Ricardo Jaime, Vincenzo Riccardi, Sergio Osuna, Joel Ojeda Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/9/12