- Writer: Meredith Finch
- Artwork: Miguel Mendonca
- Colors: Ivan Nunes
- Letters: Ghost Glyph Studios
- Publisher: Zenescope
As part of Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales series, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Little Mermaid #1 is a reimagining of the story made popular by Disney’s 1989 hit The Little Mermaid with a comic book twist. This darker, sexier version of The Little Mermaid features (likely mad) scientist, technology and ocean creatures that seem to speak to more of a traditional Siren styling than the happy-go-lucky Ariel from the Disney film.
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Little Mermaid #1 starts with a flashback to twenty years ago. A Yacht traveling along the ocean in calm waters is suddenly consumed by the sea. When the ship is destroyed, the nameless woman from ship goes from treading water to looking for a prince to laying on a beach. The panels of the crash and the search are dark, ominous and larger than life. In the following panels where the woman is coming to, the scene is displayed in an almost identical fashion to The Little Mermaid film, except our female character the one being woken up, not a prince.
Cutting back to the present, we meet Erica, a strong willed yet compassionate mermaid who gets dragged into a fight with mechanical octopi. In her struggle, we see some disturbing and confusing creatures. Use of blue, tan and teal tones in these panels gives a real sense of what these creatures might look like in the ocean’s depths. A demonic looking creature (who’s hair and grin remind me a little too much of Heath Ledger’s Joker) nearly overtakes Erica, though she escapes. We quickly learn this “mermaid” is actually a human who is in a simulated environment. While she is aware of what she is doing, Erica doesn’t have communication with those watching her (they seem uninterested in her other than how far they can push her).
We then learn that Erica’s story has even more similarities with the Disney classic in how she came to be in her situation, though many questions are left to be answered in later issues.
Finally, we are introduced to Erica’s mother. While out running along the beach, she meets a creature who remains nameless but should be familiar to anyone who’s seen The Little Mermaid film. Here, Erica’s mother is given a chance to learn about Erica’s whereabouts, but this information will come at a price. Erica’s mother looks a bit young to have a daughter of Erica’s age, both women look as though they are in their early twenties.
Finch keeps the dialogue minimal but effective, letting us in on just enough information to know what is happening. Nunes’s artwork in this piece grows in strength as the story progresses. We go from a more simplistic ship scene in the earlier panels to vibrantly detailed images as Erica’s story progresses. I think this choice in making the detail of the artwork progress was intentional. Mendonca’s talent shows in the early panels, but is more minimalistic, as if to suggest that the interest in this story lies not in the humans, but in the mermaids (or ocean related creatures) involved.
Whether you’re a fan of the Disney classic or not, if you enjoy stories with a darker edge, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: The Little Mermaid #1 is a comic worth reading.
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