Talk about a twist in a fairytale! We all know the story of Rapunzel; a young Princess who was stolen from her crib by an evil witch who wanted a child. This is definitely not the Rapunzel you grew up with -- in fact, these are not the classic fairy tale characters you grew up with, in general. That's a big part of what makes this (and all FABLES and FAIREST stories) such a pleasure to read.
After being a victim of an "Alfred Hitchcock type attack," Rapunzel realizes that she must leave Fabletown and flee to Japan in order to rescue her children. The question is, from what? Also, who knew she had kids? This story goes beyond that, though. The fact that her children may be in danger are only the tip of the iceberg; it's also a clue that much bigger things could be at play and could possibly threaten the existence of her kind. However, in order to leave for Japan to investigate the situation, Rapunzel is going to have to team up with a not-so-awesome guy. It will be interesting to see how the interaction between these two characters evolves, for sure.
Inaki Miranda does an incredible job on the art in this issue. I love the way the artist layers the panels so you have one image over another; it works really well here and provides this real graceful fluidity to the story. It's really well done. The colors are also really lovely and soft.
The structure and the pacing of the story was fine, but there were some scenes I felt just didn't pull me into the story. I think that a bit more background on Rapunzel could have been provided -- not much, just a little bit -- since this isn't the Rapunzel most of us grew up with. I would have also liked to see more interaction between her character and her "mother" in this story. There is definitely some tension between the two and I think it would have been neat to see that further explored; maybe through a flashback, or a small glimpse at the past. Leave the reader wondering why there is resentment there; and if there is, why Rapunzel so eagerly puts that to the side in order to gain her help. I would have rather seen that than some of the scenes with Jack (although I do get that he's supposed to be the balance/comic relief in this story).
Overall, if you haven't been reading FAIREST, this is not a bad place to start. While it isn't the best start to the series (I enjoyed the last story a bit more) I think this issue is well written, provides an interesting story (so far, at least) and features some really, truly stunning artwork. The characters and their interactions are fun and for the most part accurate, and I liked their portrayal here. It's a good start and a good jumping on point.