Story: Brian Schirmer
Art: Claudia Balboni
Image Comics marketing sold this series with the following paragraph to fans:
An all-new series with the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I. and Fables, but set in a vibrant, RAT QUEENS-like high fantasy world. Plus, this—and every—issue contains a complete 30-page story!
While I don’t invest a lot of faith in most marketing these days, this tagline sticks to the truth. It is like reading a procedural detective show mixed with a wild assortment of fantasy elements. It’s like CSI meets Harry Potter, or Murder She Wrote meets Lord of the Rings, or Sherlock meets Young Sheldon… wait! That last one is too far.
There is a ton to like about this new series, the characters are fresh and the premise hasn’t been beaten to death. While fans of offbeat fantasy like Saga will feel right at home, the characters are also charming enough that new readers will feel welcomed.
Main character Jenner, a woman who posed as a man during the war of the Harshland and is now the world’s only Fairlady; a Fairman or lady is a skilled licensed investigator. Her feline humanoid sidekick Oanu is played up as the wise comic relief, and the rest of the world is familiar yet twisted in this same Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Gilligan’s Island… OK, I’m really not good at these comparisons.
The writing for this series is very sold, and while Schirmer might seem to be telegraphing his plot, it’s all in an effort to dupe the reader when it comes time for the twist. The care and crafting of this world are evident on every page, as we are slowly introduced to the way this new series works. It’s very well done.
As for the art, Balboni has a style that is all her own. The line art is crisp, clean, and a joy to look at, while minor touches like facial expressions, background, and page layouts are all handled with a professional touch. There is little doubt from me that we will be seeing a lot more of this Italian’s fine works in the future.
A playful series that deserves the attention of new readers.