Inaki Miranda delivers some truly breathtaking art in issue #9 of FAIREST. The scenes are incredibly detailed and the panel layout is abstract. Although the panels are definitely organized and easy to read, Miranda doesn't use a traditional panel layout to tell the story, but rather utilizes objects within panels to create panels within panels, connecting the story in an abstract (but organized) way. A great example of this is when Miranda utilizes the Fox's reflection in the mirror of her car to create a new panel. It's really well done. Not only is the layout of the panels interesting, but the art is just stunning. The inking is great, not very heavy and really showcases the detail of Miranda's pencils.
The story picks up where we left off in issue #8 and provides a bit more back story to Rapunzel's character. We discover that her children have been the focus of her character's journey from the very beginning; from the moment she first set foot in Japan.
What exactly is Rapunzel's importance? We get these really beautifully drawn panels depicting her life centuries ago in Japan, but it is unclear as to why she was not only spared, but she was given a place in the royal court. The writer doesn't really explain why Rapunzel is treated with such high regard and fully accepted into the royal Japanese court, and the scene in which she enters into the court is sort of bizarre. It's also not explained why the character is spared while other Fables characters are persecuted. I think it would have been more interesting if the writer focused more specifically on the decisions and motives of other characters.
The story jumps around a lot. We move from Japan, centuries ago to the present, then back to the past again several times. The jumping around does make things complicated to read and it draws the focus of the story away from Rapunzel's character. We don't really get a sense as to who she is and what she's running away from or why, and a lot of that doesn't make her a very likable character.
I think we're getting a somewhat interesting story on the surface, but as far as the motivations behind the decisions made by some of these characters, that's leaving us in the dark a little bit.
The art, like I said, is incredible. It was neat to see the combination of ancient Japan mixed with modern Tokyo in the story, but I'm not so sure how well it meshed due to the way the issue was organized. The story jumps around a lot and is kind of confusing in some parts, and it also makes it difficult to really explore the identity and motivations of the character. We don't get a good sense of who she is, and why she made certain decisions. I really wanted to like this issue and this story arc, but something about it just didn't grab me. Be it because the characters aren't very likable, or because the story jumps around, or maybe because the character's motivations aren't clear. Bottom line, though, it's hard to tell what direction this story is going.