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Fairest of All is a graphic novel written by Serena Valentino and the second installment in the Villains graphic novel series. It is based on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” animated film and like the novel, is a prequel to the film, telling the story of how The Queen became evil. Grief, The Odd Sisters, and the Magic Mirror wreck havoc in her life encouraging the once-loving Queen to be cruel and wracked with jealousy.
The story covers the backstory of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, who becomes bent on killing her stepdaughter to become the fairest of them all. It is a tragic tale of abuse, trauma, and grief pulling apart the layers of heartbreak between a flawed woman and her suffering daughter.
While Fairest of All has the classic themes of the movie Snow White (a jealous Queen, Snow fleeing into the forest) it really comes down to a story about grief and childhood trauma. Readers may be surprised to see in this story, the Queen truly loves her husband and step-daughter at the beginning of the novel. She is determined to be the best mother she can be, with a fresh start in a new kingdom and a handsome man at her side.
The death of Snow’s father takes a hard toll on the Queen, who transforms into a woman who can barely get out of bed and function, never mind being a healthy role model for her daughter. With the gift of the mirror from the Odd Sisters, she also begins to feel the trauma of her abusive father who surprise!, is actually the ghostly figure who talks to her through the mirror. Trauma and grief make the Queen’s mental health so fragile, she eventually sends away her best friend and then orders the Hunstman to get rid of Snow.
Fairest of All is illustrated by Fiona Marchbank and the majority of the novel shows the characters in black and white outfits with lime green accents. It sounds odd but it really works in this graphic novel because when the queen suffers from depression, most of her blocks are mostly black to designate the changing of her mood.
The Mirror is also quite creepy, with black eyes and mouth. His expression rarely changes and his disdain for his Queen is always apparent no matter what words he is saying on the pages.
Overall Fairest of All: A Villains Graphic Novel is another compelling origin story by Serena Valentino that will tug on readers’ emotions and make them rethink their feelings about a misunderstood “Evil” Queen.
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