Lots of little girls want to live in a magical land fairies and elves and adventure. For Gertrude it actually happened. Yes, twenty-seven years ago she was sucked screaming into a vortex and ended up in Fairyland. Bruised and bloodied from the journey, she was warmly welcomed by Queen Cloudia, who assured her that a day long quest, with the aid of Larrigon Wentsworth III and the Map of All Known Lands, would bring her safely home.
That was twenty-seven years ago. She's still there. Still a little girl. At least outwardly. Inwardly she's a thirty-something woman, filled with a psychotic rage at anything and everything. She's still accompanied by Larrigan... um, Larry--I don't know what Larry is. A blowfly?--and is still carrying the Map. She no longer has the support of Queen Cloudia, however. Not since she shot the Queen's stars out of the sky. Literally blasting them out of the sky and giving the moon a beat down for good measure. Fairyland rules dictate that no guest of Fairyland can be harmed, but Cloudia has decided to interpret that rule very narrowly. She can't hurt Gertrude, but that doesn't mean she can't have someone else do it. Last issue she sent out Bruud the Brutal. This issue, it's Horribella the Witch. The issue's also got fauns and zombies. You gotta like one of those, right?
In the first issue Young disclosed that he was introduced to comics through Mad Magazine, became a fanboy thanks to 90s Image titles, and, of course, he became a name creator thanks to Marvel babies and the Wizard of Oz adaptations he did with Eric Shanower. It's easy to view this title in terms of creative continuity: parody (Mad), plus violent mayhem (Image), plus children's fantasy (Oz) equals I Hate Fairyland. And it's easy to see this comic appealing to parents who've read that one story too many times, or whose kids have that one stupid DVD on a continual loop, but I think it will have a broader appeal than that. The tone isn't malicious, though Gertrude can be. I can easily see this serialized in Mad Magazine.
Is it any good? Yes. It's early days and Young is still setting up the reality Gertrude is bent on destroying, but the story is already moving beyond being just a series of gross out jokes. I suspect Horribella is going to become an important nemesis. She's survived the second issue anyway. As an artist Young has always brought an element of charm to his work. It's still here, albeit whacked over the head and gutted. And, let's be honest, don't we all want to see that? Now you can, living vicariously through Gertrude. Beaulieu colours this world bright and shinny, bringing a technicolor sheen to candy and entrails alike.
Trust me, you'll enjoy this book--even if a part of you doesn't want to admit it.
Story & Art by Skottie Young; Colouring by Jean-Francois Beaulieu; Lettering by Nate Piekos of Blambot; Logo & Design by Rian Hughes; published by Image Comics