Story by Bill Willingham
Art by Barry Kitson
Review by Mara Whiteside
What does it feel like to be undateable? To be lonely and offended by local men? Willingham and the Fables crew hit on these topics in the latest issue of Fairest. Much like Beauty and Beast’s one-issue story, Fairest #14 is short, self-contained story featuring Reynard the Fox and Princess Alder.
The charming fox pulls out all the niceties to the make the reader feel at ease during the story’s unfolding. He is our guide, informing us that he will tell us a tale of a pretty girl. That girl is none other than Princess Alder, dryad and resident of The Farm. Now, Alder has had some trouble with conventional dating in the past. From romantic flames to freshly cut roses, it seems like the local men have no idea how to interact with a dryad. Leave it to Reynard to come up with a cunning solution to Alder’s dating problem.
The entire issue is light-hearted and fun. After Rapunzel’s heavy (and incredible) arc, Reynard’s fourth-wall-breaking conversations with the reader drive Fairest back to its fairytale roots. The moments when Reynard directly addresses the audience are perfectly timed and never miss a beat. From the first page, readers can immediately tell Reynard will learn something from his recent interactions with Alder.
As with other issues in this series, the artwork is breathtaking. The style is heavy on realist portrayal; you won’t see any stylistic risks like in Captain Marvel – which, by the way, have been remarkable. Instead, in Fairest, you have expressive characters, panels laid out with care, and subtle touches that bring you further into the story. Everything about this issue is gorgeous, and the art team really outdid themselves on this story.
Fairest #14 is a buy. It is adorable, quick, and fun. For new readers to the Fables universe, you will have no trouble catching onto this story. Everything is laid out nice and easy for you. For fans of the series, there is a final panel that will entice your curiosity and bring you right back for more Fairest.