Fairlady #3 Shows That Sometimes Solutions Aren’t Satisfying

by Tony Thornley

Fairlady was promoted on the fact that every issue would tell a complete self-contained story. It’s interesting then to consider exactly what that means, as Fairlady #3 explores larger mythology of the world, as well as some larger implications for the series.

Brian Schirmer, Claudia Balboni, Shari Chankhamma, and David Bowman throw Jenner into her next mystery.

Jenner and Oanu have a murder on their hands- Jenner’s client and fellow former soldier Kothan who had simply hired her to retace his steps as a training exercise. However, when his supposed widow shows up, demanding revenge, they have a larger mystery on their hands when they discover Kothan wasn’t actually Kothan. The question then is where is the real Kothan and was the murderer targeting the imposter or the real thing?

Schirmer’s plot is inventive and clever here. The story takes multiple twists and turns but they never feel out of left field or nonsensical. The best part is that when the case is actually solved, the story doesn’t end, providing a coda that shows though the main problem had a solution there’s actually much more to this story, which may get revisited in the future. This is all done with sharp characterization and smart world building to compliment the mystery.

Balboni and Chankhamma take the story make it very exciting. The splash page introducing Kothan’s widow is incredibly iconic sword and sorcery fantasy, and both the pencil and color art lean into that. Balboni has a great sense of motion and choreographs all types of action well, whether it’s a sword fight, summoning, or just the reveal to close the case. Chankhamma’s color art makes the world come to life, and she shows how color can be used to create a setting just as much as drawing a background would.

With this mystery solved, I’m looking forward to what happens next.

Fairlady #3 is available now from Image Comics.

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