Form: Comic Book (Trade Paperback)
Series: Fairest, Volume 1 (Issues 8-14) – Spinoff from Fables
Writers: Bill Willingham, Lauren Beukes
Artists: Inaki Miranda, Barry Kitson
Colourists: Eva de la Cruz, Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Todd Klien
Cover Art: Adam Hughes
Once upon a time, before the FABLES saga began, a war was brewing in the East. At the centre of this conflict stood a single woman – and a whole lot of hair.
Rapunzel’s romantic history is as long and full as her legendary golden locks. Some of its strands, however, are more tangled than others – including the prince she bedded, the witch she infuriated, the children who were stolen from her, and the faraway realm to which she fled to get away from it all.
In that Hidden Kingdom, home to the Fables of Japan, Rapunzel found new love in the arms of a beautiful seductress with a soul of foxfire – and a new enemy in the person of a brutal warlord.
Now, centuries later, the ghosts of her past have returned to haunt her, and Rapunzel must travel to the Land of the Rising Sun to discover the truth about her long-lost children – as well as the fate of those others, loved and hated, that she left behind.
I enjoyed the story of The Hidden Kingdom a lot more than I did the previous volume, Wide Awake, but it still gets three stars from me because I’ve become a much harder marker since then. It avoided a lot of the things I complained about in Wide Awake – Hidden Kingdoms is written by a woman (Bill Willingham is credited as ‘consultant’) and Rapunzel is very much the lead of this book, she has her own agency, and her presentation isn’t filtered to us (much) through the eyes of a male character. She does things for herself and the story can be (and probably should have been) told without the male love interest. But I just couldn’t get into it enough for it to rank in the four stars.