Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Chrissie Zullo, Karl Kerschl, Renae De Liz, Ray Dillon, Fiona Meng, Mark Buckingham, Phil Noto, Meghan Hetrick, Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Gene Ha, Tula Lotay, Marley Zarcone, Ming Doyle, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Nimit Malavia, Dean Ormston, Kurt Huggins, Adam Hughes, Al Davison, Shawn McManus, Inaki Miranda, and Kevin Maguire
I'd gotten pretty bored of Fables and its related properties, but with this hardcover, featuring work by a number of fantastic artists, but telling one complete story from beginning to end, my appreciation of Bill Willingham's work with these characters was restored.
Fairest: In All the Land is a terrific murder mystery that begins in the lost Business Office, and is narrated by the Magic Mirror. Our narrator is also a participant in the story, as he realizes that a visitor has come into the office, a space that has been set dimensionally adrift, and has been cut off from the other Fables for a long time. Shortly after this, beautiful Fables, starting with Rose Red, are being murdered. A list of intended victims is found, and Cinderella is pressed into solving the murders.
Cindy's skills lean more towards espionage than detective work, and so it takes her a while to figure things out. The Mirror has an idea of what's going on, but isn't able to communicate with anyone, trapped as he is.
This story ranges across the history of Fabletown, and involves a number of supporting characters showing up for a bit to play their part. I'm not sure that someone new to Fables would get a lot out of this, but for a long-time, lapsed, reader, it was a treat.
Willingham was assisted by a remarkable list of artists. I'm not sure what I found more exciting - to see up and comers like Tula Lotay, Ming Doyle, and Marley Zarcone represented, or to see actual interiors by Adam Hughes. There are a few artists here who are unfamiliar to me, which is also pretty exciting, as the art is consistently great throughout this book.
Having finished this, the only Fables left for me to read is the last volume; I'm going to have to get around to that some time soon.