Review of Serena Valentino’s FAIREST OF ALL

Fairest of All: A Villains Graphic Novel by Serena Valentino

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anyone who knows me knows I LOATHE the story of “Snow White.” She’s, without a doubt, the most pathetic fairy tale character: absolutely no spine or any redeeming qualities. If anyone deserves to be cursed for blatant stupidity, it’s her. I’m not saying the whole “bring me her heart” thing was above-board or anything, but the Queen probably did the world a favor in eliminating Snow (well, trying to eliminate her).

As such, I’m a fan of any tale that attempts to grant the Queen a sense of redemption or justification. Petty? Perhaps. And Ms. Valentino started her tale off on the right foot. Sort of. (I mean, coddling Snow still irritated me, but that’s a personal vendetta, so I can’t complain overmuch) The emotional abuse of the Queen’s father as a justification for her insecurity was handled beautifully. It set up the perfect crutch and need for constant validation.

That was never really followed up on. Not to the extent it could have been.

Instead, the Odd Sisters get introduced as an outside force (can you say deus ex machina?) to drive the “evil” into the story. And that’s where I lost interest. There was no actual impetus behind the Queen’s drive to turn away from everyone she loved. Instead, everything resorted to the usual standbys of “good” and “evil.”

Constrained by the canon of Disney? Maybe. But the lost opportunity left me disappointed. A genuine story was built there, with functional motivations beyond curses and spells. It just wasn’t capitalized upon.

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