Last issue, Lumi the Snow Queen’s castle was attacked and razed to the ground by Hadeon, the dark fairy godmother, who detected that her name had been used repeatedly in that location.  This is because Jonah the wise cracking bottle imp had been regaling her with the origin story of Sleeping Beauty, also known as Briar Rose, who along with Ali Baba were being kept as guests (or prisoners) there.

In the first issue of this series, Ali Baba was told he would find true love and that his kiss would awaken her.  The problem is that  he found two sleeping lovelies, Briar Rose and Lumi, kissed both and both awakened.  Initially, he assumed Briar Rose was his intended love.  Now he isn’t so sure, as Jonah pointed out last issue, he kissed Lumi first.  This realization angers Briar Rose, who has started to have feelings for Ali.  She rants that she’s been awakened by “true love’s kiss” dozens of times and none of those romances have ever lasted.

That’s all actually side story.  The main event here is the magical brawl between Lumi and Hadeon.  Both are devastatingly powerful so this battle is truly a sight to behold, illustrated by the amazing Phil Jiminez.  At one point, Lumi turns into a giant… then Hadeon into a grotesque tentacled beast!  Ultimately, the pair are too evenly matched, meaning someone (or someones, rather) will have to break the tie.

This is one of the best battle scenes in the Fables-verse.  Jiminez is a pro and gets to draw one of his strong suits, powerful women.  This book has been a little talky, so it was the right time for a slugfest.  But while the fight was the focus of this issue, we still got some character development for Briar Rose and Ali Baba.  Also, there was some fill-in artwork, in the Ali Baba/Briar Rose storyline by Steve Sadowski, but his work fits seamlessly in with Jiminez’s, who probably needed the assist, due to the nature of the battle scene.

Fables in general is a great book for readers that may like comics as an artform but aren’t into super heroes.  I’ve turned a lot of non-comic readers into fans thanks to that book.  ‘Fairest’ fits in well with the main ‘Fables’ book, but is a lot lighter.  There’s none of the usual political elements in that book, so it’s kind of like a nice little vacation.  It’s still ‘Fables’ but without the responsibilities.

Verdict: Buy

Written by Bill Willingham
Pencils by Phil Jiminez
Pencils pages 15, 19-20 by Steve Sadowski
Cover by Adam Hughes