Fairest, Vol. 4: Of Mice and Men

Well, poosticks.  After requesting an e-ARC of this I realized I completely forgot to read Fairest Vol. 3.  Oops.  I've not been as vigilant as I'd like to be (or really, as I used to be) about keeping up with the Fables t.p. volumes, but I have to kick it into gear for the Unwritten/Fables crossover (yes, I know that already technically happened, but the library hasn't gotten the volumes in stock yet).  I promise to remedy all of these sins posthaste with a massive checkout binge tomorrow, but as for today ... Fairest, Vol. 4: Of Mice and Men.

Let me be blunt: This was not good.

The fact that this was not good made me Not A Happy Librarian.

Apart from the storyline (or "storyline"), what irked me the most was the art.  It was scritchy and sloppy and no one really looked like themselves, or they looked like three other characters at once.  I barely recognized Beast when he walked onto the page, and Cindy lost a lot of her spunk in the lackluster drawing.  The background characters are hastily sketched in, and don't reflect the global nature of the settings.  For example, when Cindy and Company are in India, literally nobody looked like they would be from India.  They were all pale-skinned people (or slightly tanned people) with black hair and distinctly Western European features.  Whitewashing much?

Now, what really confused me was that this volume of Fairest is all about Cinderella, who already has her own 007-esque spy spinoff series.  So, why are we retreading what's already been done with the character?

To add insult to injury, this doesn't read like a title in its own series, but rather an enfeebled attempt to sneak into the original Fables series.  You get all the spoilers, like Bigby's death, which, if you haven't read that far in the series (ahem, *raises hand* (to be fair, I did already know about that particular spoiler, but others may not)), really ruins things.  It also demands a good knowledge of the Fableverse and who did what to whom and betrayed this side or that side when and how.  My brain can only hold so many things so I totally forgot a ton of this stuff.

But all of that could have been avoided had we just focused on the ladies of Fables instead of trying to write a supplement to the Fables and Cinderella series.

The so-called plot of this one involves a rat army unwittingly created by a mouse who turned into a man.  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but mice and rats are two separate species, and a heavily enchanted mouse would only beget mice or mouse-hybrid offspring, and not rats, correct?  I mean, I think I know enough about genetics to figure that much out.  Good ol' Mendel and his peas and all that.  So where did the rats come from???  And why can Cindy's mouse friend suddenly perform heavy-duty magical healing?  And SINCE WHEN did getting shot in the temple not mean DEATH?

I know that the Fableverse and the lives of the Fables within rely on human belief in their stories.  A fairy godmother is a strong fable because her archetype appears in many, many fairy tales all over the world.  This gives her power and would mean a quicker "respawning" (for lack of a better word) if she were to die.  So, why not let her die and then come back?  That's what I'm assuming will happen to Bigby

Not only does the author ignore practicalities, but he also ignores the rules of the Fableverse.

Read it if you must, but I wouldn't recommend this to the casual comic reader.  It's too heavily invested in well-established story lines and the art is pretty crap.

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley.


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