Review: Fairest #21
✔Good start to a series that has a lot to live up to
✔Artwork is unique but stays in the similar design to the main Fables series
✔Nice place for new readers to jump on
✘ All set-up
✘ Cindy wasn't in it a whole lot
Fairest hits issue #21 this month and that marks the beginning of a brand new story line. It will be a 6 part story which means that it will most likely be one of the last two big stories Fairest will have before it ends along with the main Fables series. Cinderella takes the stage here and I couldn’t be more excited. For those who don’t know, Cinderella is not the indentured servant turned princess that you know from your childhood. In Fables, Cinderella is the equivalent to James Bond. She has been featured in two solo minseries – From Fabletown With Love and Fables are Forever. This in effect is her third one and possibly last.
Cinderella is one of the more interesting characters in the Fables universe. There’s a lot to her but we also don’t know a lot of things. We have never seen a full backstory for her. We only know that she is the third wife of Prince Charming and that she was not always a kick ass secret agent. This issue, the first in the “Of Mice and Men” story arc, shows us a little of that. We open with the classic scene of Cinderella being prepped for the ball by her fairy godmother. Knowing Fables, this story will differentiate from the tale we know. Marc Andreyko just hasn’t revealed that to us yet.
In the present day, up at The Farm, Snow White is putting the cubs to bed and settling them into bed. Besides my deep love for all things comics, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so I was really excited that she was reading that to the cubs as a bedtime story. *insert fangirl squeal here*. Unexpectedly Snow White is attacked and another attempt on her life has been made. She has no idea what to do but to call Fabletown’s resident one woman police force, Cinderella.
With six issues to work out this story, Andreyko can take his time. Issue #21 is all set up and done very well. We get to see what Cindy’s mission is, what she’s up to right now (done in a fantastic typical spy movie scene) and a little teaser as to what’s to come in the telling of Cindy’s backstory. What’s fortunate here is that this issue does not fall flat. It doesn’t stick out for being especially exciting but it is a good issue. I enjoyed this one comic of all setup more than the entire Rapunzel story so that’s saying something. It is not an easy job to write a well developed story in the Fable Universe if your name is not Bill Willingham. It becomes doubly difficult when you are doing a Cinderella story which will undoubtedly get compared to the first two series she starred in.
What I’ve enjoyed most about Fairest has been the artwork. It keeps with the already established character designs while maintaining the integrity of each individual artist. Shawn McManus does a very nice job of keeping with the design of Fables while it not looking like a copy of Mark Buckingham’s work. I admire artists that can adapt like that while staying true to their own art.
Now as I read reviews of this during the week, I noticed a lot of other reviewers saying that they did not think this was accessible to new readers. I disagree. While reading this I felt that I could give this to a new reader and they could follow the story. The reader for this particular story does not need to know everything about the Fables universe in order to enjoy it. It is completely accessible to a new reader because we do get all the information we need. Cinderella’s double identity as a store owner and spy is explained very well and the Fairest series was always meant for new readers anyway. Each story arc does not build off the previous one.
Overall this was a great setup issue for the “Of Mice and Men” storyline and while not perfect or terribly exciting, it was a great read for Fables fan. This story arc has a lot to live up to and it started off well.