The Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood
Released March 12, 2013
Comics / Twisted Faerie Tales / Gore
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!
I haven’t read anything in the Grimm Fairy Tales series of comics, but when I saw this e-ARC on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. It had so many things going for it – twist of a classic character, putting the character in the real world, making Robin Hood into a GIRL – that it looked like it would entertain me while leaving me satisfied with a whole story arc in one go. I was not disappointed, but this is also a really dark take on the Robin Hood myth.
From the beginning there is no way to mistake this for the standard take of Robin Hood. It starts off bloody and doesn’t get any better. Over the course of 156 pages, there is rape, head explosions, magical deaths that leave behind nothing but bones, and our hero getting stabbed in the eye by a hateful privileged teenage boy. This is not a tale meant for impressionable youth about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It’s a revenge fantasy full of blood and anger, and the artist holds nothing back.
I appreciated Robyn Hood for what it was: a sort of Kill Bill-style remix of the classic story split between a world of faerie and our own. The story shows a parallel abuse of power and Robyn doesn’t hesitate in dealing with it. Somehow there’s a sense of female empowerment behind the carnage, despite the revealing get-up. It’s still the familiar story of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but instead of gold, it is power being stolen and the rich just happened to die in order for the poor to obtain a sense of power.
As part of a larger universe, the story ends on a cliffhanger, but enough of the original plot is wrapped up by the end, that it’s a satisfying conclusion. Shand just left a door halfway open for the next daring adventure of this kickass verging on psychotic incarnation of Robin Hood.
So after enjoying the story, despite cringing more than once at the graphically depicted scenes of gore, I was dumbstruck by the cover gallery at the end of e-ARC. It’s common for graphic novels to collect the monthly cover work at the end of the collection, but the highly sexualized variant covers left me confused. This was a story about a teenage girl taking control, defeating her enemies, and protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves. Why the cheesecake variants? Yes, I know that comics are generally a boy’s medium, but when the comic publishers wonder why more females don’t read comics, they should really take a look at the cover collection in Robyn Hood. It’s a collection of everything that’s wrong with female depictions in comics over just a few pages and it left me a little infuriated and put a bad taste in my mouth, which is sad considering I mostly enjoyed the graphic novel itself.
I think that cover collection alone has convinced me that these takes on Grimm Faerie Tales just aren’t for me.
I received an electronic ARC of this graphic novel from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.