I absolutely loved this issue of FAIREST. It's a great stand-alone issue that lets you dive into the Fables universe even if you don't have any prior knowledge of the series. The backdrop of the story is the "golden age of Hollywood," the 1940's. The story is heavily influenced by fantastic crime-noir elements and undertones and is written just beautifully. The dialogue is perfect. "Beast" sets the setting for this story appearing at a crime scene. It's clear he's a cop and he's investigating the deaths of some men along the side of the road. The thing is, he knows exactly who is responsible for these deaths, and he has to do his utmost to get there and solve the problem before it gets further out of hand.
The art in this comic is stunning. I love Shawn McManus' artistic style and the way captures emotion in the expression of these characters. McManus was the perfect choice for this issue, his pencils were absolutely superb and the decision to publish the entire comic in black and white with hints of red really added a lot to the story and helped set that "old Hollywood" tone.
The dialogue is great -- it reminded me a lot of the film Gilda -- a black and white film noir directed by Charles Vidor. In it, Gilda is played by Rita Hayworth who manages to capture both the damsel in distress, and the tortured femme fatale. In this comic, Beauty plays both roles brilliantly, and the reader doesn't know whether to sympathize with her, or with her victims.
I honestly read the issue twice to really get a sense for what was going on, and I think that's good. It's a comic that makes you think. You don't quite understand why the Beast is chasing the Femme Fatale until much later when everything comes together in the end. It's definitely very easy to sympathize with Beast's character in this bitter sweet story, and it's romantic the way he tries so hard to protect her.
There was nothing bad here.
This issue is just gorgeous. From the way it immediately setting the tone for the story, to the way the art perfectly compliments the scene that the writer is trying to convey -- it's brilliant. The language, dialogue, expression and mood are amazing. If you are a fan of film noir, you will absolutely enjoy and appreciate everything that this comic has to offer. If you have ever wanted to jump into FAIREST, this is the perfect place to start. Fantastic self contained issue.