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.


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.


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.


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: ★★★★☆

Reader Rating

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)


The Author

Danielle Luaulu

Danielle Luaulu

Danielle Luaulu lives in San Francisco where she constantly toes the line between nerd and lady. As a teenager, she fell in love with Sandman’s Morpheus and started wearing lots of black. Now, she's a graduate of SFSU where she studied creative writing and lives vicariously through her level 10 drow bard. She has a love and fascination for all things super and natural, as well as supernatural. Comics are her life, as well as playing games in which she gets to be the hero or villain or a combination of both. Depends on her mood.

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  1. justanothergeek
    January 13, 2013 at 9:31 am — Reply

    This has been so far my favorite arc in Fairest, it’s really amazing and it has made Rapunzel my favorite Fable.

  2. Jude Deluca
    January 15, 2013 at 1:11 am — Reply

    Did anyone get the Sandman reference? In the story about Calliope, that asshat author bought Calliope in exchange for a bezoar, and it was specifically mentioned as one from a woman who’d been sucking on her hair while she slept. Rapunzel Syndrome, apparently. And this story is about a blonde, mythical figure held in captivity.

    • January 15, 2013 at 1:50 am — Reply

      Yeah, I remember reading that part from Sandman. Rapunzel Syndrome is a real condition that some people get. I heard (not sure how true this is) that it was named so after they pulled a giant bezoar out of a little girl’s stomach that had accumulated because she had been eating her hair.

      I guess the doctor thought it would be a cute name for her disorder or something. :-/

  3. BlueBoy
    January 16, 2013 at 8:35 am — Reply

    Great review. I thought the mouth slit girl was more to do with this Japanese ghost story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuchisake-onna

    Or maybe Ichi the Killer, who predates Heath Ledger’s joker by a few years http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0296042/

    Thanks, BlueBoy

    • January 19, 2013 at 3:48 am — Reply

      Hmm, didn’t know that bit about the mouth slit girl. I now have to go and find out everything I can about it… As for Ichi, my taste in Japanese cinema was more or less killed by Takashi Miike’s Audition, so I never saw that one.

      Since Fairest is based out of the Fables universe though, it’s probably more likely that Beukes took it from the myth, instead of the movie. That’s just my opinion though.

      Now, to google everything I can about Kuchisake-onna… *shifty eyes*

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