Review: I Hate Fairyland #5

I’m not sure what more I can say about Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland that would adequately convey just how much I’ve enjoyed this series. In a current industry climate that drips with saccharine positivity, it’s a real treat to see a book presented in an all-ages style that simultaneously rips the genre a new asshole. At times, even literally. Now imbued with the accumulated powers of Fairyland’s dark underbelly, Gertrude finally throws down with her would-be bubbly replacement, the appropriately-named Happy; herself awhirl with weaponized rainbows, unicorns and gum drops. And thanks to the illustrative machinations of both Young and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, it is a spectacle to behold. In fact, Fairyland has probably the best gore this side of Luther Strode. Despite what you might think, given his widely popular cutesy covers, Young is an exceptional (and exceptionally gratuitous) bloodshed peddler. And I salute him for it.

I-Hate-Fairyland-#5-1Amidst pages-upon-pages of monster disembowelments, solar eviscerations, and your sundry flayings and blood baths, this issue wraps up as decisively as the series began. At the same time, perhaps surprisingly, it sets up well what promises to be an intriguing follow-up series, which I cannot wait to binge on later this year.

As simple as this book has been in its conceit, its characters and its storytelling, it is also driven by a creative team that is clearly bringing its A-game. Young really puts the “harm” in “charming” with this series, both in the way he flirts creatively with a profane dialogue, and in how he expresses that lost innocence visually on the page. He also sets up a legitimately interesting world here, with its jelly seas, syrup orcs and pancake caves. I would honestly play this as a video game or Candy Land-meets-Cards Against Humanity board game. Mother fluffer, how fun would THAT be!?

As I mentioned before, Beaulieu gives everything a slick, neon-candy sheen that makes devouring each panel that much more delicious. Letterer Nate Piekos, meanwhile, brings some of the most dynamic lettering I’ve seen since the halcyon days of he 90s,  when folks like Chris Eliopoulos would allow words to break free of their balloons with explosive vigor. Piekos affects a similar visual here, but makes everything fluffy and rounded, such that his letters are integral to the look of the book itself, rather than just a byproduct of its fabric.

I Hate Fairyland is that rare thing these days: a “cute” comic that doesn’t pull punches and is actually able to elicit some very real laughs. Missing it is not an option.

Score: 4/5

I Hate Fairyland #5 (of 5) Writer/Artist: Skottie Young Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu Letterer: Nate Piekos Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/18/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital