“Fairest, Volume 1: Wide Awake” by Bill Willingham and Phil Jimenez (Vertigo, 2012)

Fairest: Wide Awake

The great thing about the popular Fables series is that it seems to be a never ending well of new and future characters, along with fascinating untold stories.  Fairest: Wide Awake is the first volume in a new spinoff series of Fables, as creator and head writer Bill Willingham takes on the stories of the fabled princesses and what they like to get up to in their spare time.

Wide Awake focuses on the story of Princess Briar Rose, better known as Sleeping Beauty, who we last left being kidnapped by the goblin army in Fables: Super Team.  After playing an important part against the Adversary in the last day of the war, Briar Rose sacrificed herself with her special power putting herself and many others into a long sleep.  And now she awaits a true love’s kiss to awaken her.

Turns out this hard-fast rule has some wiggle room, as Ali Baba, Prince of Thieves, discovers when he is put up to a job that will bring him untold riches by a small and suspicious genie.  But when Ali Baba makes it to Briar Rose after subduing all the goblins, he finds himself with a new puzzle: Briar Rose lies there in her sleep, along with the Snow Queen.  They are both beautiful women and he feels love for both of them; unsure what to do he kisses and awakens them both, which was the wrong thing to do.

With Briar Rose awake once more, her true origin is revealed, as well as alerting her greatest enemy, while the Snow Queen isn’t happy about her predicament and plans on regaining her powers and her great ice palace and killing everyone in its wake.  Meanwhile, Ali Baba is wrestling with which woman he truly has feelings for, which is now helped by the impish genie who keeps giving him bad advice.

Wide Awake is a fairly weak introduction to a new series, as the plot didn’t feel as complex and gripping as some of the other Fables storylines.  Nevertheless, it is great to read about all these strong female characters playing main stage, while the only real guy in this, Ali Baba, keeps more to the background.  Willingham has said that he plans to bring in other writers to continue this new tangent of the Fables world known as Fairest.

Originally written on January 7, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

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