The conclusion of the Return of the Maharaja arc is rapidly approaching. Prince Charming and Nalayani are faced with a realization … they were too late.
The war against the Dhole has begun. Prince Charming, his people, and Nalayani are preparing to face the onslaught of beasts. After the battle begins, Prince Charming has a startling realization involving the Dhole. They are merely taking orders and from someone who wants the Prince dead. The chaos subsides as the Prince shares delightfully comedic scenes with the Dhole as they flesh out their differences.
The comedy aspect serves the comic well. The Dhole are very witty and respond with just the right amount of humor. It is very funny to see the vicious Dhole army reduced to a bunch of wise-cracking dogs. Although they shift forms and the comic touches briefly on it, they are merely henchmen (henchdogs?) for a greater evil.
Sean E. Williams’ writing in this issue is surprisingly fresh. Most of the problems with his writing strain from a nuance of repetition. These issues are completely nonexistent in this comic as he focuses more on his lighter side with a touch of absurdity. Although it may feel out of place with the seriousness behind this story arc, it was a pleasant surprise filled with memorable dialogue.
Stephen Sadowski continues to illustrate beautifully on every page. His depiction of the Dhole and their transformations add a level of realism that the writing wouldn’t be able to get across without it. The cover art from Fairest #18 has been identified in this issue and the sinister vision is displayed exquisitely. Sadowski makes good on his ability to draw creatures with an immersive level of detail, and the reader will take notice very quickly.
The new addition of hilarity may feel like a misstep to certain readers. A series that has been known for little comedy and a strong emphasis on horror cannot fail to see any scrutiny once they make a complete 180 degrees. The pacing is noticeably slower than the previous issue and it fails to make use of extra space as certain frames only contain six or less words. Not to say that it is a bad thing, but the reader will finish the comic shortly after beginning it.
An argument can also be made that the end twist to the comic is not very satisfying. In the end we were promised a war and a vile menace but the arc has failed to deliver on both ends. As we approach the end of the arc, there are more questions than answers and in order to address all of them, the final issues may feel rushed.
Although Fairest #19 is far from perfect, the new sense of comedy brings out an interesting dynamic to the series. Sadowski continues to impress with his monster illustrations and the story is heading in an exciting, albeit questionable, ending.