Bill Willingham & Phil Jimenez
Fairest is a new spin-off series of the popular Vertigo title Fables, which features classic fairy tale characters in the modern world. There has previously been one other ongoing Fables spin-off series, Jack of Fables, which lastest for an impressive fifty issues, and a few mini-series featuring popular fable Cinderella, as she plays the spy game. Mini-series such as Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love will now be contained in this new ongoing series Fairest, which will have storylines featuring a rotating cast of female characters.
Now, this debut issue of the series actually picks up on one of my favorite ongoing stories from Fables proper. When the Fables defeated the oppressive Emperor, they first took out his right hand, Lumi, the Snow Queen, by placing Sleeping Beauty in the castle where she was stationed and putting into play Beauty's curse, wherea she is pricked by a needle and the entire castle falls asleep and is encased by thorns. Since then, Sleeping Beauty has been asleep, as well as Lumi. More recently in Fables, the two women's sleeping bodies were stolen by goblins, who were after only one of them, but didn't know which to take. This is where Fairest picks up the story.
For a book centered around the women of the Fables universe, it's interesting that most of the first issue focuses on a male protagonist, Ali Baba, Prince of Thieves, who is prompted by a bottle imp to retrieve Sleeping Beauty, who he is led to believe could make him rich. Of course, he finds both women as he tackles an encampment of goblins and the wooden soldier who has been stalking him. Uncovering the two women after this journey through the eyes of this everyman character, not to mention years of waiting for this moment, really amped up the suspense, leading to the moment where Ali finds the women. It almost raises the women to a sort of mythical level in the eyes of Ali Baba, while also whetting the appetite of the reader. At least that's how I see it. And now the women can really take center stage as powerful characters in this universe of magic. And did I mention that I'm a huge fan of Lumi? I can't wait to see what she gets into when the sleeping spell wears off. So, yeah, while this first issue wasn't exactly what I expected, Willingham picked the perfect storyline to kick off this new series with, reintroducing not one, but two powerful female characters back into the universe. He also manages to write a really captivating first issue, following Ali Baba's little adventure and meeting the cute little lamp imp. I think this book is off to a great start, and I can't wait to see where it goes.