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Chain Reactions | Fairest #1

Fairest #1

The latest member of the Fables family came into the world last Wednesday, as Fairest #1 by Bill Willingham, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Andrew Dalhouse and Todd Klein. The book promises to explore “the secret histories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red and others.” The first story arc picks up where Fables #107 left off, as it focuses on Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty after she is stolen away by the goblin army.

So what do people think of this latest spinoff of the popular and long-running Fables franchise? Here’s a round-up of a few reviews …

Alex Zalben, MTV Geek: “By gobsmacking, of course, I’m referring to the plot of the issue: a thief we haven’t seen in a good long while picks up a jar we may have forgotten about, and sets in search of a lady or two who have been trapped by goblins. Much smacking of said gobs ensues… Though mostly by one of the most bad-ass wooden puppets you might ever hope to meet. And all of this involves characters or ideas that have been seeded throughout Fables the past few years, but one of the beauties of the book (beyond, you know, Sleeping Beauty) is that Willingham provides easy entry for even the newest reader.”

Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: “There’s no denying this is a Fables spinoff. One has to be familiar with a fair bit of continuity from the mother title to figure out where the characters are in this story and what their deal is (especially Oakheart). I haven’t read Fables in a while, but fortunately, what I remember from before I stopped following the book was enough to pick up on the appropriate and required references here. Of course, not everyone will be privy to the same backstory from Fables. Of course, one could argue DC expects only Fables readers to pick up Fairest, but limiting one’s expected readership to an audience within an established audience seems like it would be setting the bar far too low. Willingham’s script really could’ve used more exposition.”

Gilbert Short, Multiversity Comics: “I’m happy to report this book was a lot of fun. I didn’t expect it to be THIS MUCH fun, but it’s as much fun as the original series was in its vaunted heyday. There’s a whole new ‘princely’ lead in Ali Baba Prince of Thieves (who I actually thought was Aladdin in the Sampler, W H O O P S), who brings a roguish element to your standard prince not seen since Flynn in the recent Disney film Tangled. His charm and wit matches well with his new sidekick, a bottle imp named Jonah, who is something like the lovechild of Disney’s Genie and Futurama’s Bender Rodriguez sans powers. Their initial chemistry drives much of the book, and while it’s not an explosive chemistry, it reads at a brisk pace, which works for such an action-oriented tale.”

Kelly Thompson, Comic Book Resources: “Jimenez’s art is beautiful throughout and is clearly the star of this issue with new artists on the way for subsequent arcs. His pages are highly detailed and lovingly rendered with as much attention paid to the smallest moments as the most epic. The characters and overall feeling is incredibly consistent and Jimenez crafts a completely believable world whether we’re looking at beautiful sleeping princesses, mischievous bottle imps or a dashing prince of thieves. Andy Lanning’s inks are sufficiently bold to give Jimenez’s pencils even more weight and Andrew Dalhouse’s colors are rich. The colors trend a little too dark for my personal tastes, but they’re filled with depth and nuance.”

Jesse Schedeen, IGN: “The series definitely feels more geared towards experienced Fables readers than newcomers. While the script is readable regardless, the impetus isn’t really there without having some idea of what transpired in previous storylines. That aside, the book is off to an entertaining start. It’s briskly paced and full of all the action and intrigue than one would hope for with Ali Baba in the lead role. The characters aren’t really newcomers to the Fables mythology, but on the whole this issue offers a refreshing change of pace from the events of Fables proper.”

Cal Cleary, read/RANT!: “I will almost certainly check out the first trade, because the talent is top notch, the design is solid and the characters we’ve met so far have some mild potential. But I have little desire to check out issue two. I have no idea what this series is about, who these people are or why I should care, and that’s so vital to a successful first issue. The opening issue of Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love told us exactly what we could expect from the series. It gave us solid character beats, a little action, and the hints of a plot. Fairest has none of that, instead seemingly coasting on the success of the Fables brand. It’s not a bad book, but I doubt it will win many fans.”



Man, those reviewers were pretty forgiving. As a longtime fan, I found myself wondering why ‘Fairest’ isn’t just another Fables arc. It didn’t offer anything new to an established reader like myself, and certainly would have been uninteresting to a new reader picking up the book based on the premise / cover artwork. I was expecting a lot more in the way of actually reading about the women of Fables, but instead got an overly long Ali Baba adventure story. Unless future issues provide positive word of mouth from other fans, I won’t be returning.

i have to say the same thiong… i was wondering why this wasn’t just another Fables arc… make the book 2 times a month…. you have done it with The Unwritten…unless something done the line is going to make this a series in its own right… i guess we’ll have to see..

that being saids… great writing…great story …amazing art…. and the alternative cover by Jimenez is the first time that makes me wish that Hughes wasnt the main cover artist… Jimenez when he love a project he really does shine.

Simon DelMonte

March 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I sadly gave up on Fables a few months back, and am not surprised that Willingham has continued with the same sort of bland fare. But I am looking forward to seeing someone else handle the writing in the next arc.

Over at PLAYBACK:stl, we have another glowing review in our weekly “Rude Chapbooks” column, saving most of the praise for Phil Jimenez’s artwork:–mirror-mirror-on-the-wall

There’s a review for it over on Comics Bulletin, too, now. Hurray!

I loved this book. I hope Jonah stays around.

I haven’t read Fables before. I got the first trade a while back because it was cheap and hearing it was good – but haven’t had a chance to actually read it.

I read the free review in the Vertigo comic that came out lately – And even though it wasonly 5 pages, I enjoyed it enought to want to read more. Having Jimenez on art certainly helped! :) So I will be picking up the first trade.

Is this arc only 3 issues?

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