Cinderella begins her investigation into the attempted murder of Snow White in this month’s Fairest!
Last month’s issue of Fairest left a great deal of questions unanswered, as well as a confusing introduction into “Of Men and Mice”. It was a rocky start, but Fairest #22 is getting things back on the rails. The story moves at an erratic pace that resembles action-heavy spy thrillers. The setting changes every few pages as Cinderella follows each lead in her investigation. The fast pacing feels natural for Cinderella and it’s captivating to see how the story unfolds as twists appear in key scenes.
Marc Andreyko expands on last month’s issue by clarifying on the cloudy storytelling and delivering an understandable prose. Using Dickory the Mouse as a comedic outlet makes “Of Men and Mice” feel more fun and satisfying rather than a straightforward “who done it?” spy narrative. Andreyko introduces characters as the comic progresses and it’s handled in a more sensitive manner than the last issue.
Part of the reason Fairest #22 excels is the improvement of the artwork. Shawn McManus’s style grows as he settles into the comic, and his strengths as an artist are beginning to stand out. He draws Cinderella in a way that her beauty can be admired but also feared when she becomes upset. Her mood is never subject to question because McManus makes every panel very clear on the expression front. Even characters with less human features, like the mice and rats, have a sense of personality to them. Whether it’s a slight smile, or the stance of the mouse, it’s obvious that a certain body language is being used on the creatures and it makes them much more believable.
There were a few scenes early in the last issue that were simply out of place and puzzling. Now it appears that the first couple of pages in “Of Men and Mice” will contain a flashback that will clearly reveal something wider in the future. That being said, it still feels haphazardly tossed in and unsure of itself. If these snippets from each issue were placed in an Annual or standalone issue towards the end of the arc, it would be more clear and focused. The two to three pages of a side story progressing every month is tedious and may distract the reader from the core of the story.
Amsterdam has a large role in this issue and as usual, the territory comes with the reputation. Pot, weed, dope; it’s hammered into the reader over and over again. Yes, marijuana is legal in Amsterdam, but is that the only thing in Amsterdam? Whoever decided to set this part of the story there sure thinks so! It’s so strange and ridiculously forced that although it probably served some comedic purpose, it gets old, fast.
Fairest #22 is a leap forward from its predecessor on every front. Although there are a few hiccups here and there, the story is progressing in a mysterious and fascinating way. The artwork shines throughout the pages and the end of the issue will leave the reader excited for next month’s release from the very moment they put the book down.