Written by Linda Ly and Raven Gregory
Drawn by Claudio Sepulveda
Colored by Nei Ruffino
Published by Zenescope
Today I’m reviewing two issues of this ongoing series, which features updates of classic fairy tales told in the present and frequently with an horrific twist. This is a two-part adaptation of The Little Mermaid (which is actually a Hans Christian Andersen story, not the Brothers Grimm). And if you’re expecting anything like the hit Disney film franchise, check your preconceived notions at the door.
This is really two stories, one set in the present and the other in the past, jumping back and forth to show the concurrent tales. But #25 primarily deals with the story in the past, which is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the original fairy tale, which was pretty grim. A handsome prince is rescue from shipwreck by a beautiful mermaid, who instantly falls in love with him. She visits an immortal sea witch and makes a deal with her in exchange for giving her legs so that she can visit the surface land and see the Prince. After the transformation, the prince finds the now-former mermaid awash on the beach and takes her back to his castle and nurses her back to health. She is mute, so they cannot speak or even reveal her name, and is simple referred to as “the young lady from the sea.” When she has recovered, the prince introduces her to his family, who do not exactly welcome her with open arms. Nevertheless the prince appears to have fallen as deeply in love with her as she has with him. But the prince is already betrothed to a princess of a neighboring kingdom, and the mermaid is shattered when she catches them in bed.
The 2nd story, which is set in the present, involves around a shy young woman named Sara, who lives in a dumpy little trailer park with her single mother, Lucy, while attending college. After a visit from a strange woman, Lucy decided to turn her daughter into a gold-digger so they can get out of the trailer park. She gives a reluctant Sara a makeover, dressing her up in sex clothes and instructing her to go to a local nightclub in hopes of attracting a pro-football players named Stephen. That story then unfolds mainly in the follow-up issue.
Despite all the other women vying for his attention, Sara does indeed catch Stephen’s eye, and they begin a whirlwind romance where he wines and dines her and buys her expensive gifts. But then Stephen suddenly cuts off contact, and when Sara finally tracks him down she catches him in bed with another woman. The two stories intersect again, as both the heartbroken mermaid and Sara are encourage to get their revenge by killing the men who betrayed them…
NO SPOILERS, you’ll have to read this yourself to see how these stories end. But I’ll just say that these are not the type of fairy tales that end in “happily ever after.”
The stories are pretty well-written, although there are some flaws. There’s no explanation for whom Belinda is, she’s the mysterious woman who approaches Lucy and gives her the idea about using Sara to attract a rich man. There’s implications about Lucy owing her something in return, but it’s never made clear what. I believe she is a recurring character in this series, so regular readers may already know her background and motivations, but there is no fill-in for new readers here, which is a mistake. There’s also some details left out of the story of the mermaid and the sea witch, it’s as if they’re counting on the reader already having previous knowledge of the original fairytale, which I think is another mistake. The artwork is decent, but not spectacular. It’s a little rough in some areas, but it backs the story well-enough.