This issue continues the story of Sleeping Beauty from last issue, with Hadeon the Destroyer, the dark fairy that Briar Rose’s parents failed to invite to the celebration of her birth. Hadeon feels snubbed and is determined to punish them for their poor manners. The tale is told by Jonah the Bottle Imp, peppered with modern day references to the “mundy” world, to Briar Rose herself, who hasn’t heard all th details of her birth, Ali Baba who currently has control of Jonah thanks to possessing his bottle and the Snow Queen.
In the story, in a hilarious and irreverent take on the classic fairy tale, the other fairies bestow Briar Rose with her magical blessings. Katrya the Pure says that Briar Rose will be the most beautiful woman in the land. The next fairy, Sofiya the Wise whispers, “Good one,” to which Katrya replies, “I know, right?” Huh. Who knew ancient fairies spoke all modern-like? Also funny is Briar Rose’s reaction to some of the gifts. Sofiya grants her the “wit of an angel.” Another fairy, Alyas the Noble says “I’m not so sure that will turn out to be the best blessing. Because angels have no guile and tend to assume everyone is playing straight with them.” In the present, Briar Rose comments “That’s true. I fall for everything.”
Nyura the Graceful grants Briar Rose “grace in everything she does, from the dance floor…” then she whispers, “to the boudoir.” Ionna the Gifted grants her wealth. (This was previously referenced in ‘Fables.’) One fairy grants her mastery of music, but Alyas says “She’ll sing like a nightingale,” which Briar Rose says translated literally. “I actually sound like a bird chirping.” Nevertheless, she employed the musical skill to become a rock star in the 60s, forming an all-girl band called the Dirty Birds. “We got popular enough that Snow White made me shut it down. ‘Too much chance of revealing my fable nature,’ she said.”
Just before the last fairy is about to grant her blessing, Hadeon crashes the party on a living ship. The ship is a minor character, but writer Bill Willingham still gives his a rich back story. Hadeon places the classic Sleeping Beauty curse on the princess, “In the years to come, she will prick her finger on a spindle, grow sick and die.” The king summons his guards, but Hadeon effortlessly kills them.
The Snow Queen interrupts the story for dinner, which winds up being a lavish banquet. The guests devour it, not realizing they are feasting on goblin. Briar Rose vomits when she finds out. She and Ali Baba retire to their “cells… ah… rooms,” the Snow Queen fumbles. This leaves Jonah and her alone. Jonah states that he orchestrated their “capture” by the Snow Queen with the intention that she would take Jonah’s bottle from Ali, freeing him. The Snow Queen thinks he is lying, because him telling her this is a form of betrayal, but Jonah responds that Ali hasn’t really given him many direct orders, so he isn’t betraying anything by simply telling her this. Jonah questions why he, Ali and Briar Rose are even still alive and free and the Snow Queen replies that he tells good stories and she loves good stories. Jonah finally declares that he wants to save them all, Ali, Briar Rose, and even the Snow Queen… but that lies in the conclusion of Sleeping Beauty’s story.
The art by super star Phil Jiminez continues to shine. The detail is insane, the designs of the fairies is unique and inspired and his use of storytelling is excellent! He varies his angles from panel to panel which adds extra drama to the flow of the story. Just excellent work, as usual.
This book has a lighter, more irreverent tone than the regular ‘Fables’ book, thanks mostly to the character Jonah. Both of the “Fairest,” Briar Rose and the Snow Queen had some really interesting lines and character developments. Only Ali Baba gets shorted this issue, but then again, he’s a guy and this book is dedicated to the ladies.
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Phil Jiminez
Cover by Adam Hughes