Fairest Vol 5: The Clamour for Glamour by Mark Buckingham and Bill Willingham
Art: Russ Braun, Meghan Hetrick, and Andrew Pepoy
Ugh. These book continue to be utter rubbish. If it wasn’t almost over, I’d have canceled it a while ago. The Fairest title was supposed to be about the women in the Fables verse, but instead, once again, this supports and shows off a male character Reynard. Because dudes >>>>>> women.
The story of Reynard and Meghan gets creepy fast. First, there’s a need to set up her relatives from Reynard’s point-of-view as rednecks who use her to cook and clean for them. Something like a modern day Cinderella. Of course, they turn out not be such bad guys, which feels like a force “wait, you thought they were rednecks? Psych! They kind of are, but rednecks aren’t really the bigots you thought they were. Surprise, we’re right about our worldviews, not you!”
On top of this, there’s the entire creepy pregnancy. Continue reading “Fairest Vol 5: The Clamour for Glamour Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest: Of Men and Mice Vol 4 by Marc Andreyko
Art: Shawn McManus
This book kind of passed the Fairest test, which is the requirement that the tales be about women. Cinderella and Snow White were at the heart of the tale, though Marcel, Ramayan, Crispin, and three blind mice, along with Fairy Godmother and Leigh factor largely into the story. This book also hinges a bit on the other Fables tales, particularly the one where they discover that Fairy Godmother has gone bad/has alzheimer’s and the last Fables trade where one of the young girls discovers a bunch of evil rats.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention how excited I got that Cinderella was going to India, and there wasn’t any culture appropriation and we even had Indian Fables, including the fabulous Ramayan, join in. However, there was a cover where Cinderella was portrayed as a Hindu goddess with multiple arms and holding her shoes. Fail.
There was, however, a big win for diversity. Continue reading “Fairest: Of Men and Mice Vol 4 Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest Vol 3: The Return of the Maharaja by Sean E. Williams
Art: Stephen Sadowski, Phil Jimenez, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Russ Braun, Meghan Hetrick, Christian Alamy, and Jose Marzan
Ugh. Okay, here’s the premise of the Fairest books: they are supposed to be stories about the various princesses in the greater Fables universe. Here’s been the problem: with the exception of the second volume, they have all actually been stories about the men in the lives of the princesses. And this volume was worst offender.
The princess in this story is Nalayani, who is not yet a princess. She’s a fable living in the Homelands in the India-region of it. Nalayani is the protectorate of her village after all the able-bodied men have gone on to fight against the Emperor and they don’t come back. When she hears there’s a new Maharaja in the area, she goes to seek his help in protection from the Dhole, wolf-like creatures, that have been killing and burning her village.
Nalayani is a great character. She loves her people, and she’s clearly the leader. The story about her travels and her friendship with the jackal Tabaqui was touching. Continue reading “Fairest Vol 3: The Return of the Maharaja Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest: In All the Land by Bill Willingham
Art: Chrissie Zullo, Karl Kerschl, Renae de Liz, Fiona Meng, Mark Buckingham, Phil Noto, Meghan Hetrick, Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Gene Ha, Tula Lotay, Marley Zarcone, Ming Doyle, Chris Sprouse, Nimit Malavia, Dean Ormston, Kurt Huggins, Adam Hughes, Al Davison, Shawn McManus, Inaki Miranda, and Kevin Maguire
This was perhaps one of the best Fables stories that I’ve read in a long time. It wasn’t interrupted by one of Willingham’s favorite characters that didn’t make sense. Cinderella had the whole narrative from beginning to end, and while she certainly had the help of others, she was the one who figured out the mystery and came up with a solution to the problem.
As much as I was excited to see that many of my favorite artists were working on this book, having the tale jump from artist to artist was a bit distracting. I really loved de Liz’s Cinderella and Hetrick’s Snow White. I was also surprised just how much I enjoyed Doyle’s art, which particularly worked with the ’60s flashback to Briar Rose’s all-girl band.
All that said, I did have a hard time getting into this book. Continue reading “Fairest: In All the Land Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest (Vol 2): The Hidden Kingdom by Lauren Beukes and Bill Willingham
Art: Inaki Miranda and Barry Kitson
So I actually enjoyed the book more than the three stars. I thought Miranda’s art was beautiful and served great for both the futile Japan world and modern day Tokyo. He drew a large variety of characters and body types. Never once did I pause and shake my head. (This is kind of rare for me, and how I wish it was the other way around.) I enjoyed Beukes’ writing of Rapunzel. I was thrilled to have a woman writing Fables and the women characters. Especially considering Fairest Vol 1 turned into a kind of love triangle and then evil PMS story. (Oddly enough, I’d been wanting to read a book by Beukes and had her Zoo City on my wish list.) I liked how flawed, vulnerable, but also determined Rapunzel is. Also really excited for Tomoko and Rapunzel’s relationship because I don’t think we’ve had any gay Fables before, which is CRAZYPANTS.
(SEE WHAT I DO? I TYPE IN ALL CAPS SOMETIMES!)
Okay, but why the three stars? Why again must these books have so much promise and so much joy to only be ripped away? Continue reading “Fairest (Vol 2): The Hidden Kingdom Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art: Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Steve Sadowski, Mark Farmer, Andrew Pepoy, and Shawn McManus
I was super excited for Fairest. I’d really hoped for some great stories focused on the women of Fables, telling who they are and giving them great agency. However, I found myself somewhat disappointed by this book. Lots of mixed feelings here. As much as I’m happy to have Briar Rose and the Snow Queen back in circulation, it could’ve been better.
My biggest gripe with Briar Rose and the Snow Queen’s literal revival was that they told it through the eyes of Ali Baba. A man became the center of the first volume of Fairest. And to make it worst, the main conflict between the two women becomes Ali Baba’s love. Or at least some competition around it.
Jonah Panghammer wasn’t quite as amusing as Willingham thought he was, despite the funny Firefly moment. Though it was a nice irony for Ali. And for what readers were probably expecting by Jonah’s addition to the tales. Continue reading “Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake Graphic Novel Review”