God Save the Queen
by Mike Carey, John Bolton (Vertigo, 2007)

Mab is back, and she wants Titania's throne. And her power, which has seemingly grown in exile, might just make the overthrow of Faerie a simple thing.

But there's this girl in North London, see, who has become addicted to Red Horse -- a magical blend of heroin and human blood. Of course, she is probably not who she seems; otherwise, she wouldn't be involved in this story.

The world of Fairie -- as well as it's overlapping places in the "real" world -- have been explored a great deal in the years since Neil Gaiman first introduced them to the Vertigo universe. Mike Carey, who did journeyman's service with Gaiman's take on Lucifer Morningstar, shows middling effort here; although the intricate story is well-conceived, he has too few pages to work with here, and the story feels rushed and unevenly paced. John Bolton, famously revised in Gaiman's A Short Film about John Bolton, provides the art -- and, though distinctive, it is likewise uneven. At turns gorgeous and garish, the characters' actions and postures seem stiff, as if they were actors still rehearsing unfamiliar parts.

There are messages buried deep in both the magical and mundane tales here. Finding them is worth the effort, but the final product here is less a pleasure than it could and should have been.

review by
Tom Knapp

14 April 2012

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