Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #1-5 by Patrick Shand – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]

Robyn Hood

Bane of Kings reviews the collected volume of the first five issues of the Robyn Hood series , published by Zenescope, written by Patrick Shand.

“An action packed tale with a few issues that make it an otherwise entertaining read and a break from the standard superhero comics.” ~The Founding Fields

Writer: Patrick Shand | Artists: Dan Glasl (#1), Rob Dumo (#3), Larry Watts (#2,#4 #5), Colors: Tom Mullin & Jason Embury (#1), Andrew Elder (#2), Nick Filardi, Adam Metcalfe (#3-5), Slamet Mujiono (#5), Omi Remalante Jr. (#5), Wesley Wong (#5) | Publisher: Zenescope | Collects: #1-#5

I’ve been reading a lot of comics produced by DC and Marvel lately and when I saw the first five issues of  Robyn Hood available on NetGalley, I leapt at the chance to take a break from superheroes such as the Justice League and read something with a graphic narrative in a different format. And Patrick Shand’s Robyn Hood makes for a strong breakaway from the norm, not only because the readers get to experience the world inhabited by the characters without having to rely on knowledge of what happened in the other series (This is my first Zenescope Comic), but that doesn’t make an entirely perfect read either. Yeah, Robyn Hood is flawed, for reasons I’ll touch on later in the review – but for now, cue the blurb:

In the land of Myst, a tryant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. But all hope is not lost as a young orphan girl from another world discovers her destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be. The creators of Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland, and Neverland bring you the next great hero in the Grimm Universe!

There are as many things to like about Robyn Hood as there are to dislike about Patrick Shand’s take on the character. Firstly, let’s start off with the positives. The art, in most places, is strong and whilst I’m not too sure I liked having the artists change almost every issue, the book remains relatively strong on that front. The storyline is pretty good as well, and entertaining.

We get a good character development and Robyn is far from the standard hero character that DC and Marvel readers will be used to – she’s a killer, for one – but she’s all too happy to steal from the rich in order to give to the poor, which makes her good – I guess. Whilst she has some questionable dress choices – I know it’s a fantasy world and Zenescope titles are aimed at a male audience, but why would a girl who comes into the world wearing jeans and a hoodie swap them for… this?

Robyn Hood Image

Starting at the very start, Robyn Hood quickly introduces us to where the title lead character came from, right from her origins as a baby all the way up to the ‘present’ day. She’s skilled with a bow, and finds herself thrust into a new world following a brutal attack. There is dark stuff here people, make no mistakes about it, in fact – I’d go so far as to say that this tale is probably closer to what Robin Hood probably would have been like (aside from the real world stuff and the female parts) than the Merry Men portrayal. Because I’m still struggling to believe why anyone would want to live in a forest in tights.

Robyn HoodThe theme of this book is very interesting – in the ‘real world’, Robyn deals with a rich family that controls her town, but can’t stop them there. But when it comes to the fantasy world of Bree, the character can stop the bad guys, and the act in the forest inspires her, so that when she eventually heads back to her own world to deal with the problems that she left behind.

I think I’ve already covered some of the stuff in this review that I didn’t like already, the impracticability issues for one, and that she came across as a little too brutal for my liking as well, even though it may be – ahem, all in a good cause. However, this book also deals with issues where she wonders about her lack of remorse displayed – something that’s rarely seen in comics in particular when the lead character is a killer, which is something that lessened the impact a bit.

At the end of the book, there’s a gallery of different variant covers – I won’t post them here in order to spoil it, but quite frankly – some of them are terrible, and have nothing to do with the book whatsoever  (The one of the Cowgirl Robyn comes to mind here) If you’ve already brought individual issues of this book and are buying this based on extra content value – then don’t.

VERDICT: 3/5

A strong, standalone storyline. Robyn is an interesting character, and for the most part the artwork is strong, but the variant covers are the weak parts and the character has some questionable costume choices.

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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