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Fairlady, Vol. 1

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Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over? Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni (Star Trek), and colorist Marissa Louise team up for volume one of Fairlady-the first book in an all-new series featuring the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I., The Dresden Files, and Fables, but set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world. Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over? Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni (Star Trek), and colorist Marissa Louise team up for volume one of Fairlady-the first book in an all-new series featuring the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I., The Dresden Files, and Fables, but set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world. After posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a "Fairman"-a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn't end on the battlefield, and as the only "Fairlady," Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld's overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets. Collects FAIRLADY #1-5.


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Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over? Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni (Star Trek), and colorist Marissa Louise team up for volume one of Fairlady-the first book in an all-new series featuring the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I., The Dresden Files, and Fables, but set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world. Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over? Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni (Star Trek), and colorist Marissa Louise team up for volume one of Fairlady-the first book in an all-new series featuring the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I., The Dresden Files, and Fables, but set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world. After posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a "Fairman"-a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn't end on the battlefield, and as the only "Fairlady," Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld's overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets. Collects FAIRLADY #1-5.

30 review for Fairlady, Vol. 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    I liked exactly one of the five mysteries presented here (the book one), the rest felt poorly plotted and/or too inconclusive. The overarching mystery is vague at best, and will stay that way, with the series having been cancelled. Characters are weak, dialogue is thin. The art is weirdly flat, making Fairlady's location feel unreal. (Read as five single issues)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Relstuart

    The story takes place after a war in a fantasy realm as people are going back trying to live normal lives. Our main character is a woman breaking into the private detective business. While she has a feline race partner, he's not developed much as a character, and doesn't feature prominently as I expected him to. The book contains several stories where the main character is hired on a case and tries to solve it. There are some recurring characters and the stories build on each. The first story o The story takes place after a war in a fantasy realm as people are going back trying to live normal lives. Our main character is a woman breaking into the private detective business. While she has a feline race partner, he's not developed much as a character, and doesn't feature prominently as I expected him to. The book contains several stories where the main character is hired on a case and tries to solve it. There are some recurring characters and the stories build on each. The first story or so was good but nothing great. Then, there was a story about an assignment to find a book. I laughed out loud during this one and I'm in for the likely second volume. I don't love buying paperbacks. However, many of the Image series won't be getting hardbacks so the only options are hard copy or digital single issues or the paperbacks. Compounding the challenge, series that don't get high sales for single issues/TPB are even more unlikely to get hardcover attention. For these reasons, I've continued to sample paperback collections of series that sound interesting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Kvíz

    Female Magnum P.I. in Middle-Earth after the War of the Ring. The first (and also the last as the series was canceled) volume consists of 5 self-contained detective stories set in fantasy land. The main protagonist Jenner is the only female private investigator (they are called Fairman) and she's usually working on cases nobody else wants. The idea of running a self-contained story in each issue looked good at first but it's not working very well. The script feels a bit repetitive after a while - Female Magnum P.I. in Middle-Earth after the War of the Ring. The first (and also the last as the series was canceled) volume consists of 5 self-contained detective stories set in fantasy land. The main protagonist Jenner is the only female private investigator (they are called Fairman) and she's usually working on cases nobody else wants. The idea of running a self-contained story in each issue looked good at first but it's not working very well. The script feels a bit repetitive after a while - there's a crime, the investigation, and somehow rushed conclusion. As a reader, there is not really room for you to think about the case and guessing who is the culprit. P.I. stories are kinda rare in comics so if you are a fan of the genre and you won't mind the fantasy setting you might enjoy the book. But to be honest I would rather have one case per book than five short ones.

  4. 4 out of 5

    SuperSillySerra

    A little of everything. The book Fairlady is about a Veteran who becomes a P.I after the wars. She resides in a tower where a wizard hired her for security. The time seems like the renaissance but the the land they live in is a decaying robot/titan. Fairlady was only 5 issues but I feel like I got more then my moneys worth out of those few books then most volumes. Each issue was a full mystery, which was well put together, with little to no ads and only $3.99. It was more like an anthology, you c A little of everything. The book Fairlady is about a Veteran who becomes a P.I after the wars. She resides in a tower where a wizard hired her for security. The time seems like the renaissance but the the land they live in is a decaying robot/titan. Fairlady was only 5 issues but I feel like I got more then my moneys worth out of those few books then most volumes. Each issue was a full mystery, which was well put together, with little to no ads and only $3.99. It was more like an anthology, you can pick up any issue and start from there. The art was fantastic, the writing was so well done that it just felt like an episode of a show. Sad this one is over with, hoping it’s not the last!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Individual issue reviews: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 Total review score: 3.5 Individual issue reviews: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 Total review score: 3.5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emmett Spain

    An intriguing idea—one-shot mysteries set in a fantasy realm—is let down by a lack of interesting characters, despite some cool touches and quality artwork. A shame that the series got cancelled so soon, as the idea and the world had promise, but needed better characters and perhaps some more intriguing mysteries to make it really work. It would have been good to see the series develop. Alas.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    Fantasy PI. The most interesting thing about the book is that fantasy setting, though we're kind of thrown in without much introduction and the most interesting parts aren't really expanded on. The mysteries are ok, but they could really use more than a single issue each to get me really invested.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Unabridged Bibliophile

    3.5 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dini Kamayana

    Thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I thought I would enjoy this graphic novel a lot more than I did. It started off well, although with the formatting/layout of the eARC sometimes it was difficult to read two-page spreads (since I couldn't change my view options). That said, I found the fact that each issue was a separate story/mystery to be solved was very confusing. This was especially so after the introductory story and we jumped to something Thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. I thought I would enjoy this graphic novel a lot more than I did. It started off well, although with the formatting/layout of the eARC sometimes it was difficult to read two-page spreads (since I couldn't change my view options). That said, I found the fact that each issue was a separate story/mystery to be solved was very confusing. This was especially so after the introductory story and we jumped to something completely different. I had no clue what had happened and it took me a while to figure out that each story was different. I wish that it had been one linear story, as it would've made it easier to get to know the characters better. I will say that I really enjoyed the artwork though. I'm usually one for very clean and sharp lines, but I enjoyed the style of the work as it really suited the stories. I also did enjoy the world building and I liked the concept of there being a fairlady in this world as well! I loved that their city was built inside the ruins of a titan--this concept reminds me a lot of my favorite animes, so this worked well for me (even if in the SFF genre this may not be completely new). The mysteries and stories themselves were interesting and I found the characters entertaining, if not a little OTT sometimes. I enjoyed it well enough overall, but I expected something completely different. I think this would've benefited more from having one storyline instead of many. I would be curious to see what other stories the author has written and what other books the illustrators have done.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    The standard noir set-up, with the war finished and a veteran making a new life as a private investigator - but this was a fantasy war, and the city isn't LA, it's built within the husk of a fallen titan. The first couple of cases frustrated me, less for the perfectly serviceable and sometimes ingenious melding of fantasy and crime tropes than for the art. Not that it's bad, by any means, it has character and charm - but in service of the fusion it tends to stay in close shots, seldom letting on The standard noir set-up, with the war finished and a veteran making a new life as a private investigator - but this was a fantasy war, and the city isn't LA, it's built within the husk of a fallen titan. The first couple of cases frustrated me, less for the perfectly serviceable and sometimes ingenious melding of fantasy and crime tropes than for the art. Not that it's bad, by any means, it has character and charm - but in service of the fusion it tends to stay in close shots, seldom letting one really appreciate the majesty of the setting. This is a perfectly legitimate and comprehensible choice, but for me it was also a frustrating one. Still, either the creators got more into the swing of it, or I clicked more with what they were doing, because after a couple of issues I started enjoying Fairlady a lot more, especially the Case of the Missing Page, and the enormous chicken. (Edelweiss ARC)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss actual rating: 2.5 I really wish I had been able to get into this but for some reason I couldn't. There was nothing technically 'wrong' with it but I still just wasn't interesting in the plot no matter how hard I tried. I think the setup is interesting and I love the art and character designs, but I feel like making each issue an entirely separate mystery was a mistake. A single comic issue is not a lot of page time in normal circumstances but to I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss actual rating: 2.5 I really wish I had been able to get into this but for some reason I couldn't. There was nothing technically 'wrong' with it but I still just wasn't interesting in the plot no matter how hard I tried. I think the setup is interesting and I love the art and character designs, but I feel like making each issue an entirely separate mystery was a mistake. A single comic issue is not a lot of page time in normal circumstances but to try to put a complete setup and solving of a mystery into one is just too rushed I felt and I never felt very invested and just like I was speeding along through it. I think it would have been better to have each volume be one over-arching mystery so that we could get more setup and character development rather than her just running around from place to place and constant exposition.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dávid Novotný

    Premise was interesting, potential looked good, unfortunately it wasn't used. First issue promises full story, and you kind of get it, if simple story of chasing lost bookkeeper with stolen money is enough for you. Ending is sudden and doesn't makes sense. Chemistry between two main protagonist doesn't exist and there is no world building at all. You get few glimpses at city lying in the remains of dead giant, but you learn nothing about it, nothing to get you hooked up. Another short story, or Premise was interesting, potential looked good, unfortunately it wasn't used. First issue promises full story, and you kind of get it, if simple story of chasing lost bookkeeper with stolen money is enough for you. Ending is sudden and doesn't makes sense. Chemistry between two main protagonist doesn't exist and there is no world building at all. You get few glimpses at city lying in the remains of dead giant, but you learn nothing about it, nothing to get you hooked up. Another short story, or let's say case, which was written as diary entry at last two pages, was more interesting than one told over the panels. All together, with kind of average art, it didn't make me want to read another issue, so I'm skipping it after first one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    If you like mysteries, hard boiled detective stories, and fantasy, then you’ll like this. I mean come on, the first panel is an overhead shot of a town built in the ruins if a colossal mech or metal golem or construct. It gets better from there. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    It is my understanding that it is too late now, but go out and buy this book. IMO Schirmer takes several influences and melds those influences into arguably the first, to my knowledge hard-boiled fantasy noir. And, by that I mean set in a more traditional setting than the writers who transport fantasy into a modern noir setting. There will be no more floppies, hard copy, digital, or otherwise as I understood the author's statement earlier this week. Perhaps, the TPB sales will be high enough to w It is my understanding that it is too late now, but go out and buy this book. IMO Schirmer takes several influences and melds those influences into arguably the first, to my knowledge hard-boiled fantasy noir. And, by that I mean set in a more traditional setting than the writers who transport fantasy into a modern noir setting. There will be no more floppies, hard copy, digital, or otherwise as I understood the author's statement earlier this week. Perhaps, the TPB sales will be high enough to warrant continuing the series in the TPB format. There are small hints dropped about what happened previously. There was a war, and the fallout for some soldiers afterwards was to become Fairman, a form of detective. Jenner Faulds lied about her sex to join the army, and has become the world's only Fairlady. She has a partner/backup Oanu a catman. In a huge shift from 2010s American comics the five issues collected here are all one and done tales, not a single story arc. The story works fine, and it was kind of nice to have everything wrapped up in a single issue. Jenner is an engaging character, principled, but she knows there are bigger fish in the city. I'll always wonder if the city was built in the remains of a giant's armor or a starship.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    Private investigators make for the best kind of troublemakers, don't they? Jenner Faulds is a former soldier, sometime security guard, and fairman (eh, fairwoman) — a licensed canvasser of deeds good and bad. Faulds is also a thorn in the ass of the local constabulary and the only person capable of getting an eye roll out of an octopus librarian with five eyes. She's a handful. But she's also ridiculously good at her job. FAIRLADY is about tracking down lost people, fighting corruption, and survi Private investigators make for the best kind of troublemakers, don't they? Jenner Faulds is a former soldier, sometime security guard, and fairman (eh, fairwoman) — a licensed canvasser of deeds good and bad. Faulds is also a thorn in the ass of the local constabulary and the only person capable of getting an eye roll out of an octopus librarian with five eyes. She's a handful. But she's also ridiculously good at her job. FAIRLADY is about tracking down lost people, fighting corruption, and surviving the occasional slash to the belly in the pre-dawn darkness at the edge of town. It's the tale of one tough chick who doesn't know when to give up. Very cool. This is an engaging comic book for one commendable reason: it keeps things simple. Faulds is a good detective and generally not so great at cultivating relationships, the consequences of which flip and fold and roll from one problematic scenario into the next. Can't find the missing woman? Check her employer. Check her loan shark. Stir up trouble. Watch your back. And keep digging until you find what you're searching for (Faulds: "I can promise you results . . . but I can't promise they'll be to your liking."). This easygoing, chiefly linear narrative structure is very refreshing. Readers are never blindsided by irrelevant backstory or gut-checked by random character drop-ins. There are occasional betrayals and quirky, episodic endings, but all in all, FAIRLADY is an excellent book because it doesn't oversell itself. When Faulds is hired to locate the final page of a mystery book, she's forced to scour the land, conduct numerous favors, retrace her steps, and figure out if it's really worth all the effort (Faulds: "Dram! Quick! Put something in a mug that will burn me from the inside out."). FAIRLADY is patiently written. It's twists and turns are far from contrived and its characters fill their roles with humble precision. Faulds herself is a woman of color sporting a tidy sidecut. The list of secondary characters is regrettably small but it's not a considerable detriment. Oanu, a buff cat-person, is Faulds's occasional partner, but he appears too infrequently to be of consequence. Nejla, a priestess who keeps watch over the tower of an absent wizard (the same tower of which Faulds is a negligent security guard), is a quiet and lovable yang to Faulds's loud and outgoing yin, but again, she appears too infrequently to hold much influence on the story. The book, however, doesn't go through much lengths to convince readers of the validity of its setting or its characters' places in it. To be frank, the aesthetical mix of high technology (hologram screens, giant robots), medieval brigand life (barbarians, hidden nunneries), and middle fantasy (mystics, human-animal hybrids) is too casual for comprehension. At least the art is consistent. The coloring is gorgeous. And while a few characters slip off-model late in the game, the book is consistently charming. Hopefully, Faulds will survive long enough to regale readers with a second volume of her detective work.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I've gotta say, some of what people have written on Image is fascinating. This series is essentially bashing together a post-epic fantasy with detective fiction. The lead character is a fascinating topic; she prefers to work separately from other "fair" people but as such her social skills leave much to be desired. However despite being employed with a steady job she's good at, she's still reflecting on herself as a person. She's also very clever in how she can deduce leads. The muted color pale I've gotta say, some of what people have written on Image is fascinating. This series is essentially bashing together a post-epic fantasy with detective fiction. The lead character is a fascinating topic; she prefers to work separately from other "fair" people but as such her social skills leave much to be desired. However despite being employed with a steady job she's good at, she's still reflecting on herself as a person. She's also very clever in how she can deduce leads. The muted color palettes also gives this touch of being in the dark for most of the time. The supporting casts meanwhile each have their own quirks that help bring out the most of the over world. There's even a little bit of humor when it comes to unsatisfying endings like in "Game of Thrones" and the lengths people go to in relation to that. Still, I'm not the biggest fan of cliffhangers when it comes to these kind of stories. It's still a good read though.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Decker

    *I received this book as an eARC from Image Comcis via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* I love the concept of this book. What happens after the epic battle ends in a fantasy war? What do the fighters do? Jenner Faulds goes into private investigating. Her job is a combination of bounty hunting and being a sheriff. This series has a police procedural feel. Each issue seems to solve one investigation. The world is expans *I received this book as an eARC from Image Comcis via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.* I love the concept of this book. What happens after the epic battle ends in a fantasy war? What do the fighters do? Jenner Faulds goes into private investigating. Her job is a combination of bounty hunting and being a sheriff. This series has a police procedural feel. Each issue seems to solve one investigation. The world is expansive and really feels lived in. I enjoyed the details in the background of many of the panels. I want to see more of this world and its history, but to be honest I did not really enjoy the actual story. I give this book a 3.5/5. The world is great, the characters are interesting, and the art is on point. But, I just could not get into the story itself. I like the world more than the story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Taka

    I'd give it a 7/10. These series are a weird mix of fantasy, detectives, and sci fi. The type of story that starts and you know that there are a few key elements in it that you won't learn for a long time. There will be many questions without answers even after the end of this first volume. Sure, these mysteries are a good way to keep you wanting more. And the flashforwards and the flashbacks help obfuscate the story, to make it more difficult to digest. Personally I'm not a fan of those literary I'd give it a 7/10. These series are a weird mix of fantasy, detectives, and sci fi. The type of story that starts and you know that there are a few key elements in it that you won't learn for a long time. There will be many questions without answers even after the end of this first volume. Sure, these mysteries are a good way to keep you wanting more. And the flashforwards and the flashbacks help obfuscate the story, to make it more difficult to digest. Personally I'm not a fan of those literary resources. I didn't get to care that much about any of the characters, and I didn't really love the dialogues. They are just okay. The art is great. There is potential, but volume 2 will need to deliver a lot more to keep my interest. I'd recommend this to anyone who loved Saga and would read a story just because it had a similar world art.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    A decent book, with several thriller adventures taking place in a run-down village where people have settled in the guts of a mammoth humanoid robot, post some kind of war. Some of it works more than others (the housekeeper that spouts a similar spiel against our heroine every time they meet is a bit annoying), but generally there is fun to be had. The artist clearly had fun, too with some funky design that actually works, and the author also does things with word layout, repetition, and suchlik A decent book, with several thriller adventures taking place in a run-down village where people have settled in the guts of a mammoth humanoid robot, post some kind of war. Some of it works more than others (the housekeeper that spouts a similar spiel against our heroine every time they meet is a bit annoying), but generally there is fun to be had. The artist clearly had fun, too with some funky design that actually works, and the author also does things with word layout, repetition, and suchlike. It might well leave too much unresolved for some, but these stories bode well for a fine series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    This is, sadly, an incredibly average comic. There's nothing unique to its plots, to the world it presents, and to the characters it features. The self-contained "detective" stories seem fun for an issue or two but the problems with these become apparent pretty quick. It's hard to get invested in a 24-page mystery when the conclusion is either obvious or impossible to guess and it's even harder to care about the characters at the center of these stories when they're one-off appearances with no r This is, sadly, an incredibly average comic. There's nothing unique to its plots, to the world it presents, and to the characters it features. The self-contained "detective" stories seem fun for an issue or two but the problems with these become apparent pretty quick. It's hard to get invested in a 24-page mystery when the conclusion is either obvious or impossible to guess and it's even harder to care about the characters at the center of these stories when they're one-off appearances with no real emotional weight to them. It's sad to see the concept fail but it's not like it was the most novel idea to begin with.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Really enjoyed this mystery set in a fantasy world featuring a female investigator and her feline/humanoid companion. Loved the characters and world building and seamless exposition. Strong artwork and some really creative panel arrangements. This volume contains several stories, fairly dark and noirish. The cover is rather plain and would not have sparked my interest at all but I discovered the book thru a review in MYSTERY SCENE magazine and was surprised to find a fantasy title featured there Really enjoyed this mystery set in a fantasy world featuring a female investigator and her feline/humanoid companion. Loved the characters and world building and seamless exposition. Strong artwork and some really creative panel arrangements. This volume contains several stories, fairly dark and noirish. The cover is rather plain and would not have sparked my interest at all but I discovered the book thru a review in MYSTERY SCENE magazine and was surprised to find a fantasy title featured there. Definitely looking forward to future volumes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jon Allanson

    I really enjoyed this. I loved the evocative art. A beautiful book, for sure. And, the story was right in my wheelhouse. The setting was very imaginative, and reminded me of a Numenera setting. I loved the police procedural nature of the storytelling and the centering of the mundane amid the fantastic. Add a few pop culture references for good measure (I'm looking at you Thundarr), and it all added up to a very fun read for me. Recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Allard

    Detective comic series set in a fantasy world - silly and fun Jenner is the only Fairlady in a world where Fairmen help to maintain the law. She investigates various crimes for money and a few other important characters are introduced. Each comic has its own story and they are entertaining and nicely produced. The whole effect is of a fun series which is worth a look.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nora

    A fun surprise! Fantasy P.I. procedural featuring a former soldier who has become the first female investigator, a “Fairlady.” I wouldn’t have minded a little more flesh on the stories, but there is some really great illustration in here and plenty to enjoy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Harry Jahnke

    I liked this a lot! Hard-boiled detective stories dipped in fantasy flavor. Kind of makes me think of Rockport Ltd. but if it was played straight. Super fun.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda K

    Nice clean art style, interesting mysteries (and characters!) and a fun world to explore. All in all a solid start.

  27. 4 out of 5

    RG

    A solid fantasy crime style world. Each issue is a separate crime. The art is great but I never felt the story reached any sort of peak. It was just so so

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I like fantasy and I like mysteries! I was pretty much the target audience :-)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    A lot of fun, Rat Queens without the druggie vibes, and with neat little detective stories running through a larger post-war reconstruction story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

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