Shadow of the Queen is the first official graphic novel from ABC Studios and Marvel that continues the continuity of ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon a Time.
Shadow of the Queen offers further insight into the life of the Huntsman, who is being controlled by the Evil Queen due to her possessing his ripped-out enchanted heart. The Huntsman was ultimately killed by Regina, the Evil Queen, on the series, but the fan-favorite actor was unable to come back to the series for flashbacks due to booking roles such as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades series.
The thing I love most about this novel is the complexity it adds to the already-existing arc that we see on the show. Shows are bound by actors’ availabilities, budgets, etc., but novels such as this are able to work freely and cater to fans’ wants while also preserving continuity.
Due to Dornan’s limited availability, we didn’t get to see as much of the Huntsman’s story as many would have liked to have seen. But in Shadow of the Queen we find the Huntsman enslaved by the Evil Queen, desperate to find a way to get his heart back. Because of this, he ends up allying with Snow White and Red Riding Hood and embarking on this grandiose journey for his freedom – which even includes the trio temporarily turning into aquatic creatures at Lake Onondaga.
One thing I wasn’t expecting to be in the novel but which pleasantly surprised me was all of the talk about Red’s wolf pack. The show didn’t touch on it too much outside of Red killing her mother Anita, but the novel goes into detail about the pack despising her for killing the pack leader – her mother. The book also gives more cute moments between Red and the Huntsman, with Snow White saying at the end that she will stop the Evil Queen so that Red and the Huntsman can be together.
The stylistic choices of color and design were interesting as well. The overall color scheme was dark and moody, which worked well when considering the novel’s overall theme. Moreover, the Evil Queen is drawn in a way that almost makes her look like a monster, reflecting her actions. Not everything is grim, though, as splashes of color appear throughout, especially at Lake Onondaga when Red, Snow White, and the Huntsman are transformed into the water creatures.
Overall, Shadow of the Queen is an excellent continuation of the Once Upon a Time narrative. It’s gritty while also providing the message of hope that the television series prides itself on portraying. As always, comment below and tweet us @Fuzzable with your love for Shadow of the Queen and everything Once Upon a Time.