I was looking forward to this issue of the Fairest from the previews. The stand alone issue is entitled Lamia. It’s a noir crime story told with the Fable characters and set in the 1940s LA. Think LA Confidential but with Fables Beast taking the lead detective role. Yes that’s right this issue of Fairest centers on a male character. He’s off to capture a female dragon that he has been containing every few decades since the fables took refuge in the mundy world. As always he’s teamed up with St. George to contain the threat. I have to say the story is excellent. The twist at the end left me shocked so much I had to read it twice. The old ‘did that mean what I thought it meant?!?’ reader’s double take. Cudos to Matthew Sturges for penning such an awesome story. I PROMISE no spoilers or hint of spoilers on the great twist.
Speaking of the writer Matthew Sturges, I’d like to acknowledge all the people that made this awesome issue happen. Shawn McManus – Art & Colors, Todd Klein – Letters, Adam Hughes – Cover, Gregory Lockard – Assistant Editor, Shelly Bond – Editor, and Bill Willingham – Creator & Consultant.
Next we need to get the legal statement out of the way – All images are the property of their owners I reproduce them here under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law for commentary and critique. No more than three pages total from any one issue is reproduced.
Ahh the story – a female dragon named Lamia is loose in the mundy world again. It is in November of 1946. Beast and St George team up again but this time under the names Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. We learn other famous literary detectives through the years have been Beast and St George working to contain Lamia when she escapes.
Now you’d think the mundies like us would notice a big green scaly lizard taking victims in 1946 LA. Ahh but one of Lamia’s powers is she can transform into a beautiful woman. This is why all her victims are men and how she lures them in. The story is of her containment yet again.
The art of the issue supports the noir crime theme excellently. The panels are either the cool grays or sepia tones of yesteryear. The only exception it to add the color red. This is used well not to be a gimmick to highlight the gore of Lamia’s kills but also to add to the neon and other things of the time. It isn’t over done at all. It’s actually very restrained adding to the power of the just one color pop. Adding the over all dark depressing feel that such a requirement for noir crime.
I don’t rate comics when I review them. Because I don’t want to become the arbitrator of what’s good and what’s not. I’m here to share my opinion on the books. It might be a great comic and I know that but I don’t care for it. How do I rate that? However I’d have to say this one comes down to being a 10 out of 10 for me. It hits all the right notes I want when coming to a comic for a story. Great art, excellent writing, well done plot, and twists within twists at the ending. Bravo! to the Fairest team for making this one of my must reads.
** NOTE NONE OF THE SCANS BELOW SPOIL THE TWISTS** I chose scans that more display how wonderful the use of art was with the story. I am limiting them so I don’t spoil the great plot surprises along the way.
As you can see part of Beast’s narration of the story appears as a letter home to Beauty. Here you can see how the gray tones and the touch of red add to the feel of the story and highlight the noir setting.
Here we see Lamia transform as she escapes from Beast. She sheds her woman appearance to slither out a vent. Here the art moved from the grey hues of the top page scan there to the more sepia tones of the interiors. Since this issue is mostly in those tones sepia indicates indoor settings and greys outdoor.
Again this was an awesome issue. If you are interested in getting into comics but aren’t into the superhero idea do try Fairest or its parent comic Fables. Both are excellent!