Comics: Belle the Beast Hunter #2 - Reviewed

Zenescope’s Grimm Universe was expanded in January of 2018 with their latest title Belle the Beast Hunter. Fans of fairytales and Disney adaptations alike will certainly recognize the similarities to this intelligent, quick-witted brunette beauty and one of our all-time favorite Disney princesses, Belle, from Beauty and the Beast

Writer Dave Franchini brings new life into a timeless character, making Belle that much more of a certifiable badass. Equipped with weapons galore and a high tech motorcycle as her steed, this version of Belle is a girl who spends her time hunting the monsters that nightmares are made of. Issue one of the series introduced us to Belle and offered few short glimpses into her past and characters that I am certain we will be seeing more of in the future. Issue two seemed to be trying to showcase another side of Belle, not just her job as a monster hunter by night, but the fact that she is also a normal young woman trying to lead a normal life in the wake of chaos. There were some dialogue issues in issue one where it was a bit confusing trying to determine exactly who was saying/thinking what at which time, but I looked forward to that being ironed out a bit more in the coming issues. That being said, I found issue two to be a lot more disjointed and confusing than issue one. I am unsure if Franchini was timeline hopping, giving us flashbacks, or if Belle was in some sort of a catatonic dream state, but I felt like this issue was a bit all over the map and was certainly lacking cohesion. In a story that’s first issue had me elated, I must say I found the second issue a bit disappointing and was left in a state of confusion even at the end of the issue. That being said, Franchini still is an excellent writer, Belle is a fantastic female character with all kinds of potential, and it is only issue two. I think it’s extremely important for issue three to start bringing the various glimpses we are seeing of Belle and her multifaceted life to a more cohesive light. 

When talking about Bong Dazo’s artistic work on this project, it would certainly be remiss to not first point out the incredible work that went into designing Belle’s costume. Next to my absolute love of comics is my love of cosplay and I have to say, Belle’s costume in this series had me wanting to head off to the fabric store and get to work! The level of detail in the line work in this comic is visually stunning and I have such a profound appreciation for the obvious nod to the Disney princess we all know and love in his work and characterization of Belle. The vivid and intense scenery, monsters and characters are only highlighted even more with the exceptional skillset of colorist Juan Manuel Rodriguez. The events seem to leap off each page and draw you further into a whirlwind of emotion and color. 

All in all, Belle the Beast Hunter issue two, though not without its issues, certainly left me desiring more. I am a fan of creating new worlds based on tales we have loved for decades, so the idea behind this series certainly appeals to me and no doubt numerous other readers. I believe if the writing can regain some continuity and the timeline can be worked out in a less frenzied manner, this will definitely be a hit series enjoyed by many. 

-Rachel Rutherford