GN Reviews: FAIREST and HINTERKIND (Vertigo)

Two very good new collections

Fairest-Vol.04FAIREST, Vol.4 – “Cinderella: Of Mice and Men”

Writer: Marc Andreyko | Artist: Shawn McManus |

Cinderella returns in an all-new epic! After an assassination attempt on Snow White, Cind is called back into service to unravel an age-old conspiracy that dates back to that fateful midnight ball! Can Cind uncover the plot and prevent a massacre in Fabletown?

Collects: Fairest #21-27

It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of CR that I’m a fan of Bill Willingham’s ever-expanding Fables universe. Whether it’s the main series itself, or Jack of Fables, or the Cinderella mini-series, I have loved them all. I read an very much enjoyed the aforementioned Cinderella mini-series, with their blend of fantasy and espionage (From Fabletown with Love and Fables Are Forever — both written by Chris Roberson). Therefore, I was rather pleased to discover that Cinderella returns in this Fairest story-arc. This is a bit of a strange story, but one that fits perfectly with the Fables-esque twisting of fable and fairy tale.

In this one, a strange loop-hole in the spell that turned rodents into Cinderella’s footmen to take her to the ball results in decades of poor decisions. As the perpetrator’s actions come back to bite him (and many others) in the ass, Cinderella must reprise her role as spy and Fables operative. It’s a really fun, quick-moving, country-hopping tale. With excellent artwork and writing, Fairest Volume 4 is very highly recommended — if you’ve been following the series already, you won’t be disappointed.

Also on CR: Reviews of Fairest Volumes 1 (Wide Awake), 2 (Hidden Kingdom) and 3 (The Return of the Maharaja)

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Hinterkind-Vol.2HINTERKIND, Vol.2 – “Written In Blood”

Writer: Ian Edginton | Artist: Francesco Trifolgi | Colors: Cris Peter | Cover: Greg Tocchini

The second volume of the hit series begins with Princess Tersia, who has a vision of the future and the shape of things to come. In this vision she’s married to Jon Hobb and carrying his baby. Oh, and there’s a dragon! Is it a dream or a nightmare? Meanwhile, bounty hunters Starla and Jubal find the tables are turned as they’re run to ground by a Centaur posse.

Collects: Hinterkind #7-12

This was a very pleasant surprise. If you caught my review of the first Hinterkind collection (The Waking World), you will have read that I thought it failed to deliver on its promise. In this second collection, however, it delivered in spades.

The cast of character we follow has been considerably expanded, and the story spends far more time on plot and character development than world-building. Palace politics, international relations, and fights for survival infuse every scene: the Sidhe are going through internecine elite intrigue, the vampire nation is on a crusade (sinister bastards, these ones), and the remnants from volume one are still fleeing persecution of one form or another. Some things have disappeared entirely from the story, which is a little strange, but I nevertheless welcomed the forward momentum.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy, and the idea of characters of myth, legend and fables taking over the world, then Hinterkind is an absolute must-read. True, the first book isn’t as great as one could hope, but volume two rewards those who stick with the series.

A complete turn-around, this is highly recommended.

Hinterkind, Vol.2 – “Written in Blood” is due to be published in December 2014, so there’s plenty of time for you to go out and catch up with the first collection.

Hinterkind, Vol.1 – “The Waking World” (Vertigo)

Hinterkind-01-ArtWriter: Ian Edginton | Artist: Francesco Trifogli

In a post-apocalyptic world where humans have been pushed to the edge of extinction by the creatures of fantasy and fables, THE HINTERKIND tells the story of one young woman’s quest to fulfill her destiny and put the world right again.

Fifty-seven years after an unspecified biological event has all but wiped out the human race, a green hand has moved over the face of the Earth. Leaf, root and shoot have steadfastly smothered the works of man, remorselessly grinding the concrete, glass and steel back into the minerals from whence they came. Mother Nature is reclaiming what’s rightfully hers but she’s not the only one…

The Hinterkind have returned. They come from hiding places in the lost corners of the world: Centaurs, Satyrs, Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, Trolls, Werewolves, Vampires…

They’re also known as “the Hidden,” “the Twilight People,” the “walkers-in-shadow,” collective names for the menagerie that mankind has hung its tales of myth and magic upon – but these aren’t fairy tale creatures. They are flesh, blood and passion, and they have a long simmering hatred of humanity.

They are a divergent species. Exotic evolutionary try-outs that couldn’t compete with the rapacious ape. Hunted to near extinction through fear and ignorance, they fled to the great forests and deserts, losing themselves in the shrinking wilderness of an ever-expanding world.

Now the wilderness is the world and mankind is in the minority.

Collects: HINTERKIND #1-6

This is a strange, promising, and yet somewhat flawed start to a new series.

The first issue presents a fantastic post-apocalyptic world – one in which human society has been near-destroyed, global populations brought to the brink of extinction. Our protagonists are based in Central Park, New York, and have built a working community: foraging for leftover items in the over-grown city around them, hunting the wildlife. It’s a stunning start, actually, and I was immediately drawn to the setting. The characters and writing were strong, and they were well-realised by the artwork.

Hinterkind-01-Interior6

Then things started to get a bit weird, and this is where (for me) the series stumbled: it became very busy, and the story grew expansive so quickly, that the mash-up of genres started to feel like it was trying too hard. I hesitated for a bit, deciding on how much detail this review should go in to, but I think it’s worth pointing some things out: there are army survivors similar to Buffy’s Initiative (only, weirder), the sidhe and other fairytale creatures have proliferated across the world, and the post-apocalyptic environment can cause mutations. All of this is revealed over this one book. I feel it may have been better to unveil the overall world more gradually, teasing us with possibilities, rather than dumping them all on in very quick succession.

Nevertheless, there’s a lot to enjoy in this book. The artwork is eye-catching; the writing is well-composed; and the characters are pretty interesting. I’m certainly looking forward to reading volume two, when it’s available.

Not the best start to a new Vertigo series, but still better than a lot of other publishers’ new books.

Hinterkind-Vol.1-Contents

Original Issue Covers #1-6, by Greg Tocchini