Science fiction and fantasy
Fairest: Wide Awake
by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez
Jonah tells Ali Baba he'll find a great treasure in the middle of a goblin encampment. But what he finds is not one but two sleeping beauties, and he doesn't know which one to kiss to wake up. So he wakes them both, only to find that the Snow Queen is furious about having been put to sleep, and she wants revenge.
Jonah knows the story of Briar Rose's past, so he retells it in an attempt to fill Briar in on the details and also distract the Snow Queen from her evil plans. But Briar Rose's past isn't done with her. Conflict and supernatural enemies follow her around like a curse. And although Jonah is supposed to be in Ali Baba's possession he has plans of his own for everyone, and he's adept at interpreting the rules of his enslavement to his own advantage.
Jonah is amusing, and he's the one who gives the story most of its bite. It's set in the present day (I think), but not on this world so there's a whole mixture of references to modern life and things like TV shows, mixed in with a history of fairy tales and myths.
The artwork is bright and clear, and the covers for each chapter are very arty. Adam Hughes' cover for chapter four, with a sultry Ali Baba, is particularly appealing.
One thing I wasn't convinced by was the tendency of some characters to solve every argument with fists, in these grand battles which the major characters often come out of with little more than a few scratches and some dented pride. It's a bit corny. The character of Hadeon in particular is too much of the evil witch who likes trouble for its own sake. However there's enough going on that the action doesn't get dull, thanks to shifting alliances and other surprises.
Briar Rose and the Snow Queen are both a bit frosty, but I liked the way they seem to complement each other and play against the stereotypes of their characters. In spite of a certain imp this is a very attractive graphic novel, and the story is quite engaging despite a few flaws. It's not the most romantic version of the Sleeping Beauty story, but it has charm.
30th January 2013
If you like this, try:Once Upon A Dream by Liz Braswell
It takes more than the kiss of a prince to wake Sleeping Beauty in this retelling of the Disney version of the tale. Part of the Twisted Tales series.
Castle Waiting: Volume 1 by Linda Medley
A fairytale castle opens its doors to refugees, misfits, and eccentrics. They all have stories to tell. A graphic novel.
Fairest: The Hidden Kingdom by Bill Willingham, Lauren Beukes, Inaki Miranda and Barry Kitson
After she gets a message about her children, Rapunzel travels to Japan to find them. But her search involves uncovering elements of her past which she would rather forget. The second graphic novel in the Fairest series.
Review © Ros Jackson