Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Fairies #3
Writer: Tyler Jenkins
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Publisher: Archaia, BOOM! Studios
Review by Laura Forsey
Because each issue of Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Fairies is written and illustrated by a different team, each one is a self-contained story without an ongoing arc. Fairies #3 tells the Hawaiian folk tale about how the supernatural beings known as the Menehune built an important historical fish pond on the island of Kauai. The story is told through the perspective of the king’s daughter, who has lost her best friend because of the war between their people but believes that the Menehune can help end the war. The plot plays out much like your standard Romeo and Juliet narrative, although the relationship is friendly and not (explicitly) romantic. Although an anti-war pro-friendship message is never bad, the story felt unoriginal and was sadly lacking in emotional depth. Even in such a short story, there could have been more compelling characters beyond the two-dimensional gentle princess, arrogant brother, faithful friend. Even the warning against crossing powerful beings like the Menehune felt predictable.
The images are made up of loosely sketched lines filled in by soft watercolours, an uncommon but visually appealing style that Jenkins also brings to BOOM! Studio’s ongoing series Grass Kings. While the style and form is beautiful, the muted watercolours are something of a detriment. A story set in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful and colourful places on Earth, should take advantage of that naturally saturated palette. However, the underwhelming colour scheme is only one of the many missed opportunities that could have made this issue great.
It’s truly unfortunate that the issue featuring Hawaiian folklore felt functionally the same as any of Grimm’s fairytales. The story itself could have been taking place in Germany, France, or England just by changing a handful of words. Among the many unique stories from Hawaiian and legend, it’s disappointing that Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Fairies #3 chose one that conforms so closely to the familiar Western fairytales we’ve heard a hundred times before.
Skip It. The story is underwhelming at best, and because the stories are self-contained you won’t miss out on any important plot points. Try it again next month.