Another mystery solved, but with a few loose ends that haven’t been tucked in yet.
Jenner Faulds takes on the Case of the Barbarian’s Secret. What is it, and what does it have to do with chickens? Find out in Fairlady #3!
Writer: Brian Schirmer
Artist: Claudia Balboni
Colorist: Shari Chankhamma
Letterer: David Bowman
Publisher: Image Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Previously in Fairlady: Jenner Faulds is an ex-soldier who landed a post-war job overseeing security at a wizard’s tower. In her spare time, though, she is a licensed investigatory, and the first female one at that – a Fairlady. Last time she was looking into the presumed murder of a colleague, but there was no body, and the story of “killed by a dragon,” rang a little false. It turned out he faked his death and was trying to slip away from his wife.
SO DELIGHTFULLY CLASSIC IN FEEL
Last time there was no body. In Fairlady #3, Jenner has found a body, and it happens to be that of her current client. She brings it to the constabulary, and Camershon has to ask if she did it. The victim is Kothan, a barbarian adventurer of some fame, at least in his own mind. He wanted to get away from it all, and hired Jenner to see if she could find him. When she did, he was dead. She walks out to meet up with her partner Oanu, and someone calls her name. It is an armored barbarian woman, name of Tatanah, who has come seeking vengeance. Cut to theme music and opening credits. (Okay, maybe not really, but it sure feels like it.)
Tatanah has a sword; Jenner has none. They fight and Tatanah accuses her of killing Kothan. Jenner says she was working for him. The constabulary arrive and break up the fight. They take Tatanah to see the body, and it turns out it isn’t Kothan after all. It’s a guy named Dunkarr. Afterward, Tatanah and Jenner go out for a drink and a talk about Kothan.
Jenner goes home to the tower only to find Nejla waiting on the doorstep. They have company, and she wants Jenner to be presentable. Jenner is hoping for some magical help…but Nejla cuts her off. But it turns out that Nejla’s guests are looking for Jenner, and it’s about the death of their friend, Dunkarr. As it so happens, Jenner has a lock of his hair she cut in the hopes that Nejla would cast a spell for her. Instead, she gives it to Dunkarr’s priestess friend, who then asks Nejla to help her in a bit of spell casting. The only clue they get is of an old coin changing hands, but Jenner puts that together with something Tatanah told her.
In the next scene, Jenner sneaks up on a farm at night, when she is struck from behind by the farmer, who turns out to be Kothan. She blurts out who she is, and the two of them have a talk. Kothan did want to retire from the adventurer life, in a bit that feels like the classic Western tale of the gunfighter who wants to step away and not have to keep facing down young hotheads. Jenner brings up the possibility that someone may just want to kill him.
A month later Jenner returns to his farm to find him gone with no sign of a struggle, and his belongings, including his sword, left behind. Maybe someone was after him all along. Or maybe it was someone just testing Jenner…and maybe they’re after her.
It a good story. I like the ongoing development of the main characters that we see little by little. The many passing characters not only serve as the core for the mystery of the month, but through them we learn more and more about the world.
TOUGH WOMEN IN A TOUGH WORLD
Fairlady #3 is populated with interesting women. While they may be based on fantasy tropes, they’re strong and independent in their own right, and the art reflects that. There is Jenner, of course, who is as smart and stubborn as ever. Tatanah is in rather sexy armor, but it looks more like armor than the stereotypical chainmail bikini, and actually covers her midsection. Although, to be fair, her spaulders (the shoulder pieces) look suspiciously attached to nothing. And of course there are Nejla and her priestess friend, who both come across as higher class.
And chickens play a bit of a role in this issue. I love when Jenner comes face to face with one of Kothan’s chickens. The chicken is every bit as surprised as the investigator is. That’s another thing I like about the book – despite the serious mystery plots, there is a little time for bits of humor, which are just delightful.
BOTTOM LINE: ANOTHER INTERESTING EPISODE
One thing I really do like about Fairlady #3 is that it is written so that you get a full mystery story in each issue, which is very satisfying. You can pick this book up as a new reader to the series and understand what’s going on, and start to feel out the relationships between characters. That fantasy setting is cool, and I love that it isn’t used to come up with cheap ways to get around the legwork that is detective work.