‘I Hate Fairyland’ dives right into chaos by giving the audience what they probably most definitely wanted, but in the most Fairyland type of ways possible. Colorful swears, bloody gore, powerful emotions, tons of action, and a whole lot of madcap activity are waiting between these covers, just like one would expect.
Opening up an issue of I Hate Fairyland is very much a situation where you’re going to get what you expect. Lots of colorful mayhem, gore, and censored swears all with Gert doing something utterly off the wall after likely screwing something up. No matter how expected what lies between those two covers might be, it’s also wildly unexpected and just plain wild fun.
Recap pages are sometimes a lost art with most comic books, a great way to remind the reader of what they were digging into a month ago (there are just so many comics & things to keep track of sometimes) but also room to have some fun depending on the type of comic. With this series, it’s a way to break the fourth wall and go all meta but in a particular way. That is the recap calling out the “forgotten” plot of the young boy that Gert is supposed to rescue (forgotten in all the corporate takeover greed) and the audience just wanting to see more violence and gore which the series is known for. So, what does Skottie Young do following that recap? Well, he gives the audience just what the recap mentioned.
Truly I love that the plot is mostly ignored outside of the conversation at the beginning, where Villionaire William Wiggins refers to that forgotten mission and the years it’s taken, to just do a whole fantasy riff that drags in the likes of Middle Earth and Gremlins in a hack and slash story. Gert, Virgil, and Rotwold try to get her out of Inferno with a Skipping bird (a play at the eagles used by Gandalf and the Hobbits) but it backfires so they find their version of a Mogwai basically, as all hell breaks loose (fitting for being in Inferno). Basically, Gert breaks all the rules of this Getlin (before she knows the rules) and things go wild as it mutates into a version of her, and then with alcohol consumption multiplies into horrific Gertlins (Gert Goblins of course).
In many ways it’s just a wild wacky hack and slash adventure dropped into the middle of the plotline, with the aforementioned calling out of the loss of the plotline, yet is a big part of the ongoing story. Because it keeps reestablishing how messed up Gert is, and the lengths she’ll go to while showing just how screwed up this world can be. Inferno might be Fairyland adjacent, but both are pretty darn messed up.
I would say that Brett Bean and Jean-Francois Beaulieu pull out all the stops when creating these issues but let’s be honest, there were never any stops to be pulled from day one. There are no limits to what is happening here, and they depict that perfectly on the page. Bean has an energetic perfectly fantastical and animated style that is befitting of this madcap bizarre violent world that Gert is diving right back into. Now that the story is fully into the fantastical there is far more of that energy to be found as Bean goes all in on the visuals, even the things meant to evoke some ‘realism’ are still well beyond what we would consider reality in style.
Every character is so emotive, their feelings are crystal clear as we gaze upon their faces or look into their big eyes. In fact, there is a lot of big feeling in this series, as the characters just feel larger than life and the perspective used by Bean feels like we’re right down there with the characters rather than viewing them from afar. We’re right there with the giant bird or hiding on top of the building from the Gertlins with the characters. Clever shifting panel styles help push this forward, as we’re bouncing from view to view with closeups and tighter focus, making sure we keep feeling like we’re part of this story too which is quite fun.
Making things colorful but also toned down in a grounded way is quite the feat and Beaulieu pulls it off, whether it was in the slightly less vibrant ‘real world’ or this more highly vibrant Fairyland adjacent world. It’s a palette choice that plays with big bright greens and reds and oranges as spaces are colorful and have a life of their own, but also keeps the flesh tones and other elements from being too over the top like much of the setting. It gives this world a firm foundation, the people as well, that grounds it while still letting it fully live up to its fantastical roots. We see a lot of this during the more frantic action-packed bloody moments on hand.
Geysers of blood can be found on pages, like actual geysering blood out of ripped off body parts bit time ouch, but they are done in a way that it’s red but not like so bright it feels comical. Other elements on the page are far brighter than the blood and gore, as that is comical in stylings but feels more grounded in coloring. Quite a distinction to have.
Speaking of colorful, just behold the work that Nate Piekos is delivering once again. The overall art isn’t the only thing pulling out stops and going all in, we got all the usual great stuff that lettering can do (guiding the eyes across a page, getting dialogue out there, setting volume & tone, and more) but tons of extras. Those extras would be the gross puking styled font or the big giant green fuzzy looking exclamation about Gertlins and so much more. Piekos lives in the moment of this story and world and lets that seep into the fantastic lettering work to make sure that this lettering style befits the fantastical elements that are here.
Gerts censored swears (something she doesn’t have to do but is stuck in a loop of doing after over 30 years doing so) and the SFX embody all this colorful madcap energy. They have their own style and colors and help bring so much to a page, just a delight to see either one filling up spaces on the page, but in a good way.
I Hate Fairyland #3 is now available from Image Comics.