One of Zenescope's newer series, Belle, takes the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale icon and reinvents her as a Batman-esque supernatural detective. Is her latest one-shot, Belle: Ghosts & Goblins, a good introduction to the character?
Belle: Ghosts & Goblins marks a huge improvement in writer Dave Franchini's writing. He has written for Zenescope for some time, with some efforts better than others, but this latest one-shot is his best writing, plotting, and characterization thus far. Belle herself is interesting throughout, with narration and dialogue that develops her character while pushing the story forward. In this issue, Franchini has a Batman and Alfred dynamic between the lead and her friend and colleague Mel, who assists the battle remotely as Belle handles the hand-to-hand. In this issue alone, which is packed with story, we see Belle face off against a foreboding Banshee, a squad of goblins, and finally the Goblin Queen and her big nasty monster. It's fun from start to finish, and long-time Zenescope fans will be pleased to see Franchini bringing the Goblin Queen into this series, as his first ever credit as writer for the company was on a one-shot focusing on that character.
Belle: Ghost & Goblins is drawn by artist Igor Vitorino and colored by Adriano Augusto, whose will please fans of Zenescope's main Grimm Fairy Tales line, as it captures the house style of realistic, action-focused sequentials very well. Belle is more of a traditional superhero title than some of the other Grimm Universe series, and it captures a traditional, vintage Marve and DC feel with the costumes as well as Kurt Hathaway's sound effect heavy lettering. One small issue with the art is in the character design: Belle and Mel are drawn with faces that are indistinguishable from each other, with Mel's only defining feature being her dark hair and classes. In that, Mel ends up looking like Grimm Fairy Tales's (currently deceased) flagship character, Sela. Still, that's only noticeable for longterm readers, and this issue of Belle will be enjoyable to any readers, new or old.