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Grimm Fairy Tales: Tarot #1 Review

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Grimm Fairy Tales Tarot Issue 1 CoverWhen you see everyone as an enemy … you never know who you can trust.

Creative Staff:
Writer: Joe Brusha
Artwork: Renato Rei
Colors: Grostieta & Jorge Cortes
Letters: Fabio Amelia

What They Say:
The Mysterious Order of Tarot has emerged from the shadows with its sights set on ruling the Realms of Power. With the courts of Swords, Cups, Wands, and Pentacles at his command the Emperor is ready to launch his assault on the Grimm Universe and the only thing that stands in his way is a wild card named, Talisman.

Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
Talisman Dupart, the Order of Tarot has been after him since he was a baby, and although his mother did the best to protect him, they still managed to corrupt her child. New Orleans has been their hunting ground, and while he has tried to avoid their detection, there are times when he must confront these stalkers with the gifts left to him – his tattoos. However due to the Order’s taint, every time he uses these mystic charms, the chance they will convert him to their cause grows ever worse … and they do not wish to lose this future King of Pentacles. The latest ones to join the chase are servants of the shadowy organization – ones who call themselves the Four. They too have powers by which to pacify this quarry, and this time he shall not escape from their chase, no matter what they may have to do, as long as they bring him back to the Emperor alive.

Now that the Four have finally captured Talisman, it is clear he does not wish to fulfill his destiny, but the Order of Tarot has other plans. Even as the two sides bicker semantics as to who is in the right concerning Dupart’s fate, there is one other who wishes to have a say in this argument, but she does not feel like joining a loosing conversation. A sneak attack stuns a minion as their leader Vican attempts determine its origin, but it does little good as torrents of flame cloak their prey’s escape. After a rapid dash to the waterfront, Talisman and his savior make a quick escape, but he is stunned to see the means of his freedom – Nataliya. His first reaction is one of hatred since this duplicitous gypsy has always worked to further the Order’s plans, so it is hard to believe someone who now states she wishes to help in bringing down this malicious group. Can he really trust this raven haired beauty or is it all another method to capture this unwilling King … New York awaits either way to see what the future holds.

In Summary:
We knew it was coming ever since they began to reveal themselves within Death Force over a year ago, but now the Order of Tarot finally have their own title – and a Launch release too; or if you want to get technical, you could even trace their first appearance with Andre Carson (a.k.a. Voodoo) from Grimm Fairy Tales #114 when he first approached Mary Medina, who would later become Mystere – our aspiring Queen of Pentacles. Either way you witness the individuals who would later become the Order, the convoluted hierarchy and composition of this shadowy organization is confusing to say the least, which is questionable since this title is considered a launching point for new readers to Zenescope, and that is where we encounter the main problem. From the start, writer Joe Brusha makes no attempt to explain who any of these people are, their purpose in capturing Talisman or why he is essential and what would seem of utmost importance, what is the Order of Tarot’s ultimate goal.

By the publisher’s own blog, the definition of a Launch title is: The LAUNCH logo makes it easy for new fans to identify a good place to pick up the story of their choosing. Therefore, by that statement it would mean Grimm Fairy Tales: Tarot is a title which anyone not familiar with the mythos should be able to pick up and read without any prior understanding of previous plot lines or characters. However, this sadly is not the case since even seasoned fans of the publisher would have a hard time wrapping their heads around all of the scattered clues and changes to old cast members which have been dropped amongst the various books, if they have not been paying attention to all of the titles. So, by that logic, how would anyone new to the Grimm Fairy Tales universe comprehend this chaos without some kind of road map to outline previous happenings? And to make matters worse, this initial issue does nothing but introduce new characters and give additional plot twists to this already confusing narrative – a bad place for novices to leap into the Zenescope mythology.

However even within this unfortunate turn of events, the artwork of Renato Rei still gives us a visually pleasing and dynamically welcoming introduction into the continuing escapades of the Order and the chase to capture Talisman. His remarkable sense of defining divergent atmospheres as we leap between realms gives this issue a rich depth which allows us to be submerged within each land without losing ourselves or the individualism of the varied locations. You understand that every place is different, their culture and sense of self worth are not lost even amongst the beauty and horror which every land displays for the audience to view in wondrous awe. And yet none of this would be complete without the skillful hands and controlled tones of Grostieta and Jorge Cortes, breathing life into shadows and giving us a colorful glimpse into the chase which is the center of the story. Every page and panel has its own sense of worth, building upon the essence of the last; and while there are two different palettes communicating within the same story, the change between emotional scenes does not drop but smoothly transitions into one complete and fulfilling tale in which the reader will find enriching, even if it is a bit hard to understand.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Tarot is beautiful piece of illustrative wonder, even if the story itself is a bit confusing. To finally give the Order of Tarot its own title may have been a great idea on paper, but the translation is lacking due to an incomplete cohesion of details which make up the entirety of the narrative. Then add to the confusion in thinking new readers could understand this dilemma without some kind of general background on the characters, settings or understanding what happened previously, and they will be in for a baffling fiasco. Since we might have now been illuminated after this first issue, hopefully the continuing story will make more sense in the near future.

Grade: B

Rating: T (Teen)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: August 16, 2016
MSRP: $3.99

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