Graphic Novel Review: Shadow of the Queen


The Evil Queen concocts a new plan to find Snow White. With the help of the werewolves, she will finally track down her nemesis’ hiding place. She sends her Huntsman to the mines to collect the silver needed to “persuade” the wolves to help the queen. The queen’s newest plan, unfortunately, places the Huntsman into a difficult position. His actions will lead to many deaths. He may not have control of his heart, but that doesn’t mean he has no conscience. 

Written by Daniel T. Thomsen and Corinna Bechko, Shadow of the Queen is the first graphic novel based off of the TV Series Once Upon a Time. It’s centered around Graham a.k.a. the Huntsman–which is kind of an interesting choice. He may have only had one season on the show, but I never thought that his story wasn’t complete as it was. (There are actually plenty of characters from OUAT who didn’t get their stories wound up before they left the show. I would’ve probably preferred to see the further adventures of Red, Midas’ Daughter, or Dr. Whale instead of Graham, but oh well!) The graphic novel, however, reveals more about his past with the queen. Through the book, you learn more about what he lost when the queen took his heart and you do get a greater appreciation for his struggles because, in spite of everything, he does try to remain somewhat free from her grasp.

I wouldn’t say that the graphic novel made me like Graham better as a character, but it did make him a little more well-rounded. Truthfully, it had been so long since I first watched the first season that I struggled to figure out how everything tied in exactly and what we did and didn’t already know about the character. I was particularly stumped by the implied romance between Red and the Huntsman. I don’t remember that ever being a thing and I didn’t particularly like it in the graphic novel (I shipped Red and Dr. Whale).

The art of Shadow of the Queen was pretty, and if it wasn’t for being a tie-in comic, I’d say it was actually very good. Sadly, Regina and Red looked nothing like themselves in any of the “chapters.” (Different artists did different chapters, f.y.i.) I’ve seen a lot more true-to-life art in tie-ins, and I was disappointed that Snow and Regina looked a little interchangeable and Red was only recognizable by her cape. The Huntsman fared better, especially in the last two chapters. At times, he actually looked quite a bit like the actor from the television show. I wish the women had been drawn better though.  Once Upon a Time centers around the women in the show and they should have been better showcased here.

The Shadow of the Queen graphic novel ended up being an interesting addition to the series. I’d recommend it to fans of the show even though it’s not perfect. I am hoping the 2nd graphic novel–which just came out this month–will do things better than the first. (It has Hook and Jefferson on the cover so it’s already doing pretty good.)

Which character on Once Upon a Time would you like to see get their own comic?

Cover Photo from Goodreads.


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