I could tell right away she was looking for someone to tell her troubles to. (Fairlady #2 Comic Review)

Written by Brian Schirmer

Illustrated by Claudia Balboni

Colored by Marissa Louise

Lettering/Design by David Bowman

Cover A by Balboni & Louise

Cover B by Benjamin Dewey

Fairlady Case File by Dani Colman

Edits by Dani Colman & Jeremy Saliba

Fairlady Created by Brian Schirmer & Claudia Balboni

A man presumably killed by a dragon, a wife convinced he isn’t dead, the Constabulary sticking to the dragon story—all roads point to personalized versions of the truth.

In This Issue: Galin Flood, Fairman, is dead. Or at least that’s what the Constabulary wants everyone to believe. “Killed by a dragon,” they said—only they had nobody, and the last dragon sighting in The Feld was before the war. Imelia Flood, the ‘deceased’s’ wife, wasn’t convinced. She called in Jenner Faulds, Fairlady, to see if she could figure out the truth.

A brief visit to Constabulary headquarters (The Feld, Center Torso,) and the scene of the crime proves that there’s more going on than meets the eye. Jenner’s first conclusion—that someone bumped Galin off because of his suspected involvement with the black market, then covered their tracks by faking a Dragonfire-induced demise—is knocked off-kilter by Imelia’s admission that the Constabulary were effectively holding Galin’s Fairman certification ‘hostage’ by forcing him to do some informing for them on the side. Eventually, Galin decided he couldn’t deal with the double-timing anymore, and three days later the Constabulary were sending their condolences to his ‘widow’. A meeting with a known black market dealer who claims never to have heard of Flood seems to corroborate Imelia’s story, though a severe ticking-off from Jenner’s Constabulary contact fails to confirm anything. On her way home, Jenner is accosted by someone—she sidetracks to Imelia’s to tell her about her meeting with the Constabulary, and says that the altercation on her way to Imelia’s that night was with a few members of that body who tried to kill her in an attempt to cover up their cover-up of Galin’s death. Imelia, shocked enough by Jenner’s unannounced appearance (and hurt shoulder,) tells Jenner that this can’t be true, because Galin had come by earlier that evening, claiming to be in hiding to protect them both.

Of course, her attacker hadn’t been from the Constabulary at all, and Jenner already knew that Galin wasn’t dead. She also knew why.

My Two Cents: In issue two of Fairlady we are treated to another full, start-to-finish mystery. Putting Jenner in a position where she is forced to look into the less-than-squeaky-clean dealings of a fellow Fairman served not only to show the close-knit nature of the community of Fairmen, but also to highlight the fact that Jenner, though tolerated by her peers, is still very much an outlier—very much the ‘other’. The book as a whole remains seamless. Art and writing work together to give the reader an almost immersive experience. Even if you separated the two, the story would still absolutely be strong enough to hold its own purely through the words or purely through the visuals. There are wonderful nuances throughout the book, both textual and visual, that round out the experience—facial expressions, set decoration, offhand commentary from characters. And there is no wasted space. The variety of panel styles and perspectives are laid out purposefully and artfully—you can see the reasoning behind the choices. Fairlady is a joy to behold, and I look forward to wherever Schirmer and Balboni see fit to take us next.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
The thing I'm finding most appealing about Fairlady is the manner in which Schirmer and Balboni really economize their use of space. No bit of page is wasted. Possibly my favorite page (for artistic reasons) is quite early on in the book. Jenner and Oanu are at the scene of Galin's 'death' towards the end of the day. As they discuss the possibilities surrounding the victim's demise, the twilight descends. Normally, an artist would choose to show this with color—and Marissa Louise does—but the layout of the page is what really drives the whole thing home. As the darkness falls the panels decrease in size and the black background of the page encroaches on the characters. It's an artistic representation of the cinematic fade-to-black, and it is beautifully executed.
Good
  • Extras within the book
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Story elements are balanced
  • Seamless worldbuilding
Bad
  • The self-contained story in this issue was a fairly predictable procedural plot.
8.5
Great
Art - 9
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 7
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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