Lauren Beukes & Inaki Miranda
The latest issue of the Fables spin-off title, Fairest, begins a new story arc featuring Rapunzel, written by a new creative team. I have to say that I was a little let down by the first arc of this series, from Fables series creator Bill Willingham, especially since it picked up a pretty exciting storyline from that main title. It felt drawn out and it was kind of dull overall. So I'm happy to report that with this new storyarc, Lauren Beukes injects some life back into this title with a stunning story that promises some cool Japanese mythology to come. It seems like a no-brainer that a series featuring the women from Fables would be written by a woman, but this is the first issue that that's the case, and Lauren Beukes takes the reins on the title masterfully, easily putting out the best issue to date. In this story, we see Rapunzel receive a mysterious message insinuating that her children may still be alive, in a story that takes place prior to the first issue of Fables. It's neat to see characters like Snow White and Bigby in their iconic first roles again, and it makes for an interesting time frame for the story. Anyway, Rapunzel recognizes the kanji on the message from the Hidden Kingdom, which could mean that a gate to the Homelands in Japan has been opened. And since Snow and Bigby will not investigate it with the urgency that Rapunzel feels it deserves, she takes matters into her own hands, recruiting fan-favorite bad boy Jack, as well as her hair stylist, a character that I really, really like named Joel. There are plenty of cool scenes here, particularly with Totenkinder, revealed to be her mother, who locked her in the tower from the classic fable. The set-up here is great, with a nice balance of characters, and an intriguing mystery. The art from Inaki Miranda is a little stiff at times, but I rather like the look of it, especially some of the clothing and character designs. If you dropped this title due to the slog the first arc proved to be, I recommend giving Fairest another chance, beginning with this issue.