REVIEW: Fairest #11

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Rapunzel rocks it feudal Japan style, recounting her tale of murder, political intrigue, bloody revenge and hairballs. Lots of hairballs. Also, Mayumi asks the question, “Why so serious?” Major Spoilers attempts to answer after the jump.

Fairest11coverFAIREST #11
Writer: Lauren Beukes
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Letterer: Todd Klein
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz
Editor: Shelley Bond
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Fairest: Rapunzel’s tragic origins in the Homelands were revealed, from her romance with a Prince to her subsequent pregnancy, homelessness and abandonment. When a seemingly kindly, and suspiciously convenient, old midwife comes to help her during her labor, Rapunzel is drugged and her twin girls stolen from her. Also, there were some awkward romantic hijinks between Rapunzel and her hairdresser, Joel Crow.

WANNA KNOW HOW I GOT THESE SCARS?

Rapunzel recounts her torrid history with Ryogan in the Hidden Kingdom after her beloved Tomoko and the other Yokai fables found themselves exiled from court. Acting as a spy for the yokai refugees, Rapunzel attempts to break into Ryogan’s safe to retrieve Tomoko’s foxfire. Of course, nothing is ever easy when political intrigue and near manslaughter is involved.

What’s been great about this story arc of Fairest, as opposed to the others, is the character of Rapunzel herself. Lauren Beukes’ take on Rapunzel has made her one of the more relatable heroines. While the other women from the Fables universe certainly have their perks, it’s Rapunzel that comes off as the most human. She’s much more free-spirited, much more willing to get down and dirty and much, much more willing to do whatever is necessary to survive. Literally.

Including the ingesting of bezoars she grew herself.

The only thing that threw me off about this particular issue was the unveiling of how Mayumi came to look the way she looks now. Since Christopher Nolan’s take on the Joker is so prevalent, it’s hard to read a story about a girl whose mouth has been cut into a ‘smile’ by a sociopath and not immediately think of the Joker. It would have been a lot more fun to have a slightly more original origin story for Mayumi and it would have given her character more depth.

Though, in the end, when compared to the expansiveness and complexity of this story so far, it’s a very minor complaint and easy to overlook.

BEZOARS: NOT JUST FOR HARRY POTTER

Inaki Miranda’s art is always gorgeous and here is no exception. Miranda has a knack for drawing the fantastical without overdoing it or shoving it down the reader’s throat. When paired with Eva de la Cruz’s delicate coloring, the two have managed to create a book that looks almost like a Kurosawa film. But with more demons and gore.

What Miranda has really excelled at this time around is bringing beauty to the grotesque. By all rights, there are parts of this book that should be just downright gross. And they are, to some extent. However, Miranda hasn’t fallen into the trap of playing up the yuck factor simply for the sake of being yucky. He’s brought a real delicacy to even the more horrific of situations as seen in the last few pages where Rapunzel fights for her life, vowing bloody revenge.

BOTTOM LINE: RAPUNZEL SYNDROME… GET IT.

Lauren Beukes and Inaki Miranda’s work on the Hidden Kingdom story arc has been stellar. Even though Mayumi’s story turned out to be a bit of a cop-out, it’s not enough to out-do what’s becoming an epic addition to the Fables universe. With an original take on a classic heroine and dream-like artwork, this is one you must pick up if you’ve been following the story so far.  Fairest #1 earns 4 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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