cover image Fables: Fairest in All the Land

Fables: Fairest in All the Land

Bill Willingham et al. . DC/Vertigo, $22.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3900-8

The ever-expanding universe of Willingham’s Fables gets a juicy new addition with this standalone offshoot graphic novel from the Fairest series. It’s a mystery narrated by the Magic Mirror, who—along with the fey, fierce little Barleycorn girls and a hundred-plus talking wooden heads—is trying to suss out who just stole a magic car and why it looks like somebody is trying to kill all the fairest women in the land. Cinderella, envisioned here as a smart-talking and Buffy-esque ass-kicker, is called in to head the investigation. The roster of characters is impressively reimagined, from Goldilocks as an angry protest songwriter to Cinderella’s sidekick Reynard the Fox, and Bigby the drunk wolf (who memorably grumbles how “cross-species hanky-panky just isn’t for me”). While Willingham imaginatively parses the tangled taboos and bylaws of Fabletown, his penchant for over-the-top mayhem as a fallback plot device is in full evidence here. And while the art is generally bright and lush—artists include Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Inaki Miranda, Mark Buckingham, and Shawn McManus—the variance between the styles of the different artists sometimes makes it difficult to tell which character is which. (Nov.)