Sunday, 8 November 2015

I Hate Fairyland #1 Review (Skottie Young, Jean-Paul Beaulieu)

Once upon a time, a little girl called Gertrude wished she could visit the magical Fairyland - and lucky her, her wish came true and she was whisked away to that enchanted place! But she realised she didn’t really want to be there and asked the benevolent Queen Cloudia to go home. The smiling Queen gave her a map and a cheerful companion to help Gertrude get home in no time at all!

Twenty. Seven. Years. Later. 

She didn’t make it home.

Physically Gertrude is still the little girl she was when she first arrived in Fairyland. Mentally? She’s a woman in her mid-thirties who has come to hate Fairyland over the many, many years she’s been stuck there with such an intensity that if she can’t leave Fairyland, she’s gonna burn it to the ground. With a formidable arsenal at her disposal, Gertrude declares total war on Fairyland - those muffin’ huggin’ cutesy pukes are gonna pay!!! 

Before his Rocket Raccoon series, Skottie Young was probably best known for his hundreds of baby variant covers for Marvel as well as A-Babies Vs X-Babies and Oz. Fairyland is like Young taking aim at those things and gleefully exploding it with weaponry that’d make Rocket drool! 

Fairyland is not a very deep or complex comic - Young doesn’t write those and if you’ve read his stuff before, you’ll know not to expect that. This is more like if The Punisher were a little girl and set loose in a magical kingdom. It’s page after page of carnage. The first thing we see Gertrude do (after the 27 year interval) is aim a cannon at the moon and blow it’s brains out! But the stars saw what she did - time to shoot the goddamn stars outta the sky too! 

It’s basically a series of cutesy creations conjured up purely for Gertrude to destroy but, holy mackerel, does it look amazing. Young’s art style is incredible and the pages in this comic are utterly gorgeous, made all the more so by Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s strong, vivid colours.

Seeing how rarely Young gets to draw gore, he goes at it with a fervour - I loved how demented Gertrude looks when she can’t find a gun and decides, fuck it, and goes after the mushroom cops with her bare hands! Also, her companion Larrigon Wentsworth III (think Jiminy Cricket crossed with Tom Waits), goes from being bright and sparkly to strung-out and suicidal-looking - brilliant! 

Young mentions in his afterword how his first comics weren’t Marvel or DC, they were MAD and the first wave of comics from the then-newly created company Image - Youngblood, Spawn, WildCATs - from the likes of Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, and Jim Lee. And it makes perfect sense that this combination would be Young’s comics origins because the zany comedy of MAD and OTT style of those first Image comics are exactly what Fairyland (and Rocket Raccoon for that matter) is. 

I Hate Fairyland is very light on story and characterisation but makes up for it with stunning art and a gleeful dark energy against all things kiddie-oriented. I like Fairyland - kill ‘em all, Gertie!

I Hate Fairyland #1

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