Writer: Paul Jenkins
Illustrator: Ramon Bachs
Colors: Leonardo Paciarotti
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Children’s stories are darker than we realize. A lot darker. Fiction Squad takes this notion and runs with it straight into arms of crime. Written by Paul Jenkins, Fiction Squad is considered to be a sequel of sorts to Fairy Quest. Both comics take place in the larger world of Fablewood, a land where stories take on a life of their own. Jenkins’ third successful Kickstarter project, Fiction Squad holds a magnifying glass up to some classic tales in order to reveal the gritty reality lurking beneath the surface of “Once upon a time.”
While the outside world believes that the Realm of Children’s Stories is a happy carefree place, one man knows the truth. Frankie Mack. A failed gumshoe detective from a discarded thirty page crime novella in the Realm of Crime Fiction, Frankie crossed genre borders to start new life and quickly discovered that behind every rhyme is a crime. Frankie has only been in the City of Rimes for five years, but he’s seen enough to know that if your looking for honesty, your better off going back to the Realm of Crimes.
The City of Rimes is run by the Witches and the Queens, rival gangs who see the rest of the Realm as expendable. Mysterious accidents are an everyday occurrence, but when someone drops a house on one of the Polar Witches, it’s up to Frankie to crack the case before all out war breaks out.
Twice told tales are old hat, however Jenkins manages to create a vibrate storybook world where some of our favorite childhood characters and nursery rhymes take on unexpected roles. Alice, for example, is working as an enforcer for the Queen of Hearts. Other pleasant surprises include a water smuggling business operated by Jack and Jill, Tom Thumb as the police chief, and Simple Simon as Frankie’s crime scene wrecking-ermh-I mean crime fighting partner.
Another selling point for this brief series is the artwork by Ramon Bachs and the coloring by Leonardo Paciarotti. Both artist produce a cohesive universe that permits nursery rhymes and children’s stories to live harmoniously together on the page. This allows readers to settle in comfortably into the world and focus on the plot that is unfolding, as well as the characteristics our storybook characters have taken on once the last page was turned.
If you’re ready to take on the dark underbelly of the City of Rimes, follow the fingernail moon until it falls out of sight, and look for the seediest place in the Enchanted Forest.