Fairy Quest: Outcasts #1
Story: Paul Jenkins
Art: Humberto Ramos
Color Art: Leonardo Olea
Lettering: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Imagine someone else wrote the story of your life, determined your character traits, and threatened to wipe your memories should you decide to deviate from your path. This is the world Little Red Riding Hood (Red) and Woof (The Big Bad Wolf) find themselves fleeing in Fairy Quest: Outcasts.
Red and the Woof have put their differences aside, and have become best friends. Unfortunately, that is not the relationship Mr. Grimm has in mind for them. Grimm demands every play their parts perfectly, unless of course, it is advantageous for Grimm and the Think Police to have you to act out of character. Picking up where Fairy Quest: Outlaws left off, Outcasts finds Red and Woof seeking out the Map Maker so that they can live together in peace in a place known as The Real World.
Although Red and Woof have managed to deviate from their stories, others have not been so fortunate. Sleeping Beauty, for example, has turned into a living corpse, and Rapunzel has become a murderous psychopath. Not quite sure how Grimm missed those two glaring deviations. Perhaps he finds death and murder beautiful. He does have a giant mind-erasing machine after all. Still, I don’t remember ever reading a version of Rapunzel where she traps people in her hair and starves them to death.
Part of what makes the Fairy Quest series fun is that the mother at the beginning of the comic, who is reading the storybook that contains Red and Woof’s story, tells her son that they are not reading about Little Red Riding Hood or the Big Bad Wolf. They are instead reading about a “little girl and her dog who went into a deep, dark forest full of monsters…” At its core, Outcasts is still about Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Their characteristics haven’t changed much save for the fact that they are now friends. Readers are essentially reading a story about deviant characters, while at the same time avoiding deviation from the twisted fairy tale genre to drive home the point that free will is invaluable.
However, the real heart of the story lies in the dynamic between Red and Woof. It’s nice to see that the two of them finally learned how to place nice with each other. I really enjoy watching their interaction on the page. Humberto Ramos and Leonardo Olea certainly know how to turn an ordinary story into an extraordinary adventure.
Overall Outcasts is your standard dark fairy tale set in a world where storybook characters are real, and the tales we’ve been told as children fail to end happily. Even still, Outcasts just might inspire readers to take stock of their own stories.