Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I Hate Fairyland, Volume 2: Fluff My Life Review (Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu)


There’s a minor spoiler early on in the review, if you care about that sort of thing. Non-spoiler review? It was a’ight. 

Ok, onto the not very spoilery review! 

What up, boppy-tops? Time to revisit Fairyland and see what Queen Gertie’s been up to since she took over! Nothing good is the long and short of it, but you probably guessed that already - Gertie’s a horrible queen and she’s turned Fairyland into a living hell! 

And here’s the mild spoiler: Skottie Young wrote himself into a corner with the last book’s finale. He realised Gertie as Queen of Fairyland is boring and static and that’s not where he wanted to take this series as it’s at its best when Gertie and Larry are wandering about causing havoc! So the first chapter is a false start that course-corrects our lovable mess of a protagonist to the right direction. 

The chaotic uncertain tone right from the start though pretty much characterises this book. Young seems to be randomly tossing in one story idea after another to see what sticks. Meet Duncan, another poor kid stuck in Fairyland against his will, and Gertie’s barmy plan to use his pee to escape! Then Gertie enters the Tower of Battle (which is of course a giant arcade machine) for extended fantasy violence scenes, takes a trip into Larry’s hat to find the Catastrophon after losing at cards, and then tries to avert a Mad Max-esque future! 

Some of the stuff is amusing like the Duncan issue, and the Mad Max one is kerazy silly, and then there are the less engaging bits like the Tower of Battle and the search for the Catastrophon which is both just Gertie repetitively killing things and getting beat up. 

The world-building though continues to be excellent and Young’s art is as glorious and imaginative as ever. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s retina-searing colours are the perfect accompaniment for the syrupy Fairyland and Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz’s guest artwork on the Tower of Battle issue is a nice brief change to the visual flow and fits in well with the arcade-fighting story. 

Young has talked about the first two books of Fairyland and how this is the format of the series going forward: single narrative-centric books like the first volume and short story collections like this second one. I prefer the longer stories to the shorter, more disposable ones but Fluff My Life is still a decent, if somewhat rushed-feeling, follow-up - and I still like Fairyland!

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