by Paul Jenkins, Humberto Ramos, and Victor Olazaba
Jenkins and Ramos’s tale of Fairy Quest continues to be released in two-part story arcs. While the first arc introduced readers to the world and the interesting concepts embedded that addressed free will and deviancy, this arc has put the lead characters on the run, staying closer to the visible plot than the underlying messages. In this second, and final part of the current arc, Red and Wolf rely on the help of the map maker, though it might not be the best course of action. Jenkins also clues into the larger universe that has spilled over into Fiction Squad making an even richer read for those following both series.
It doesn’t take long to feel a bit uneasy when faced with the map maker. So far in the series, Jenkins has kept the characters involved pretty transparent with regard to their allegiances. Even when one character previously tricked the duo, it wasn’t all that surprising. This is no fault of Jenkins, and instead simply how he has crafted the story thus far. However, the map maker is very different character. Frozen characters who are explained as belonging to stories that are no longer recited, his existence outside and opposite that of Mr. Grimm’s world and his knowledge of all things add up to create a very strange sensation when watching him interact with Red and Mr. Wolf. Over the course of the issue, even in his aiding the protagonists, it is hard to tell if there is not some other motive or plan. Either way, the issue never clues readers in on this and it adds some complexity to the tale.
Humberto Ramos enlists the help of Victor Olazaba on art in this issue, but the quality is still there. The panels and sequencing do not suffer at all from the inclusion of a second artist, though the art style is visibly different from the initial two-part arc. The sensation that was created through the texture and coloring in volume one, the narration style overlaying the panels and the overall layout of the pages has shifted a bit. Even still, the art quality is excellent. Ramos is fantastic at capturing the physicality and emotional range of his characters and that remains true with this issue. There is no question of the talent, and the new characters and new settings remain energetic and engaging. Ramos and Olazaba are able to successfully capture some quiet moments between characters as well as big battle scenes. Above all, the art team is able to do so in a way that remains appropriate and enthralling for all ages.
For as enjoyable as the series continues to be, there is some disappointment in seeing the arc conclude with so much teased about what lies ahead. Like the end of the first story arc, Red and Wolf find themselves facing a brand new and vast unknown. Though it is not mandatory, reading Fiction Squad in conjunction with Fairy Quest works to the reader’s advantage as Jenkins begins to hint at the larger universe, the ongoing feuds between fairy tale characters and the many regions that Red and Wolf will cross. Jenkins has done a great job reworking and establishing these well-known characters into his grand story and with that, there is frustration in knowing it may be awhile until Red and Wolf continue their adventure. Fairy Quest: Outcasts is a fun arc that adds to the tale Jenkins and Ramos began a year ago and once more leaves characters and readers prepping for a new adventure.