Ali Baba in flip flops? He’s a handsome and hip dude, like you’d expect in a work by Bill Willingham. But Ali Baba has got to do some fancy footwork in “Fairest,” like running for his life and climbing up walls. As cool as he looks sporting flip flops, he’d be much better off upgrading to something more substantial. Anyway, it’s cool since we’re in a lovely fantasy world. Yes, as any fan of “Fables” has come to expect, this dazzling spinoff is fanciful cool!
The colors alone are a feast for the eyes. Andrew Dalhouse lays on a rich palette, lots of deep purples and earth tones, pulsating throughout the comic. Phil Jimenez on pencils and Andy Lanning on inks work beautifully together to give us a larger-than-life dreamscape. Considering that the majority of this story involves the interactions between Ali Baba and a dud of a magic genie he’s stuck with, much depends on the solid characterization in the writing and the art.
“Fairest” is to focus on all the female characters in the world of “Fables” and somehow determine which is the fairest of them all. Is that even possible? Well, this is one of those deals where the journey is as much fun as the stated goal. For this first issue, you’d be surprised at how much you can invest in the fates of a prince of thieves and his little imp of a sidekick. The stated goal, rescuing the pretty damsel in distress, is only part, a small part, of why you’re reading this. That said, our two adventurers manage to get themselves into quite a lot of trouble and isn’t going away any time soon.
For those of you keeping score at home, “Fairest” is a significant title. It ushers in a whole new chapter in the world of Vertigo Comics. This is the title that DC Entertainment leads in with as they debut a whole new website dedicated to their more “alternative” line of comics along with a dedicated app. Gone are the days, well sort of, of when Vertigo was that unpredictable “not ready for primetime player.” I hope not. It’s just that, with such a higher profile, you wonder if any of the edge has been smoothed away. Well, we’ll see.