Fairest #32

Story by
Art by
Russ Braun, Andrew Pepoy
Colors by
Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by
Todd Klein
Cover by

With "Fables" almost at a close, the same is true for its companion series "Fairest." "Fairest" #32 wraps up the final storyline ("The Clamour for Glamour"), although there's still one final issue to go next month. Mark Buckingham and Russ Braun's storyline has best been described as rambling, zig-zagging all over the place without a strong focus at any moment. But as with previous issues, there are some little gems of interesting ideas buried through the issue.

"Fables" fans will be curious if nothing else to see the final fate of the Farm and everyone in it, as well as finding out which five Fables get to gain human form. But at the same time, there's a lot of slapstick, misunderstandings, and pratfalls that you need to first get through in order to hit this conclusion. And in the end, it results in a very uneven comic.

The biggest problem is that it feels like Buckingham bit off more than he could chew, here. There are a lot of characters dipping in and out of the story, and honestly none of them get quite the spotlight they deserve. Had this just been about the Farm, or just about Renaud the Fox, I think it would've worked a lot more. The two halves never quite mesh (despite the story beginning and ending as a larger unit), and no matter which one the story jumps to, it always feels like you'd rather see the second half.

Still, there are some interesting bits here and there. One of the Fables that becomes human has been a supporting character for so long that it's nice to see that one get a somewhat happy ending. And while the ending to Renaud's story and his murderous brothers-in-law feels a little cheap, at the same time it's hard to deny that the slight upbeat tick that comes out of nowhere is somewhat nice in the overall accepting nature on display.

Braun's art (with a few pages guest-inked by Andrew Pepoy) looks perfectly fine. I like how he draws Renaud as a human, in a generically-handsome sort of way that fits well with it being a magical spell. I'm not entirely sure what it says that his non-human Fables are the more realistic characters here than the people, though; perhaps their cartoonish nature just better suits Braun's style? Overall, the art looks reasonable and it gets the job done.

I'm glad there's still one issue to go (and written by Bill Willingham, no less), because this would have been a slightly limp conclusion to "Fairest." Then again, it in many ways sums up this spin-off series as a whole; some good bits here and there, but ultimately never quite living up to the high expectations everyone had. It's reasonable, but nothing special.

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