“It took an invasion to unite us.”
– King Cole in Fables (Volume 1)
Fables. Fables. Fables. You are the series that every fairytale fanatic was waiting for. Snow White? The Big Bad Wolf? Prince Charming? Beauty and the Beast? This comic series doesn’t fail in creating an exquisite world were fairytales clash with reality. Set in New York City, famous classic fairytale and folklore characters are forced to escape into a mundane world, our world. United by a war lead by The Adversary, their original stories are now history. Henceforth, they form a secret community that goes by the name of Fabletown. Fables (Volume 1), covering issues #1-5, focuses on a murder-mystery tale around Snow White’s sister, Red Rose. Discovering her apartment drowned in blood, Bigby Wolf (Big Bad Wolf who became Fabletown’s sheriff after turning over a new leaf) and Snow White (Director of Operations for Fabletown) try and uncover what really happened behind closed doors. Was Red Rose kidnapped? Killed? The task is in their hands to solve this case as the readers are plunged into a world filled with memorable characters.
“Yeah, well my heart bleeds for you. You know what they say. The only easy day was yesterday.”
– Bigby Wolf in Fables (Volume 1)
I have always been thrilled by murder mysteries and the whole investigation process. This trade paperback delivers on that front. It reminded me of those good ol’days when I would just read/watch through a story where a badass detective accumulates clues and analyzes several suspects personalities only to gather everyone up in one same room and deliver the final conclusion towards the end. Yeh, I’m talking about you CSI and Detective Conan (for those who’ve read the manga or watched the anime). SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read. The story is really well written. The humor is on point (maybe not all the time, but still enough to squeeze a little laugh out of you). In order to begin the Fables series, Bill Willingham sets up a fun tale of family, love and murder. It might not have been the most mind-blowing ending, but it was definitely a fun read. In fact, the plot isn’t the highlight of this volume, characters were. Promising as ever, the story depicts a very interesting retelling of classic characters. After completing this first volume, I felt Fables was bound to have some entertaining adventures for us in the future.
You know when you wonder what the Beast would look like if he was right next to you in your everyday life? Well, Fables does an excellent job in creating well-thought personas for each of the characters and hiding them in plain sight. Aiming a more adult approach to this retelling of classic fairytales and folklores, every character you might have seen in your childhood has a personality and some form of humor. Character development was perfect. From Prince Charming not so charming personality to marital issues between the Beauty and the Beast, these characters were brilliantly portrayed. Some of them really surprise you and gets you giggling at times. I mean, they can really get you to say out loud in stupefaction and joy: “You can’t be serious.” SPOILER HERE: Hover over text to read. If you ask me, every character had something different to bring to the table. They were all different, intriguing and believable. I’d just say that none of the content in this comic series followed the Grimm brothers original material. That would’ve made Fables such an insane — in a good way — comic when you think about it. On the other hand, the novel still manages to give everything an adult tone and I loved it.
“No wonder they call lotteries taxes on stupid people.”
– Snow White in Fables (Volume 1)
Absolutely sharp and clean, that’s how I’d describe the artwork. Fables doesn’t try to take on an unique and original artwork. It contents itself with a clear, straight-to-the-point art. It’s beautifully drawn and very folklore-like. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t revolutionary at all. It felt like something straight out of the 90s. I don’t think the artwork had much of an impact on me while I was reading. What I mean by that is that the images didn’t add anything supplementary to the story. It didn’t get me to feel something more to what the story was trying to indulge me in. But don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean the artwork was bad. It means that Fables didn’t need to play with the art to get me hooked even more than I already was. That aside, there were some really astonishing scenes throughout the trade paperback that had me in awe. It looked exactly like those pictures you’d find in the children fairytales to help you picture the stories told. That was really well done. Kudos to the artists, penciler and so on. It had me tripping. Got myself a first class ticket for a train through memory lane.
Fables has 22 volumes out there. You know a series has potential and still manages to sell when you can get that many volumes published and still be recognized as a big name comic series. This comic series is definitely worth being read at least once in your life. The originality in the concept itself should bring you to flirt with the idea of buying this volume. Fables’ adult retelling of classic fairytale and folklore characters is bound to pique the interest of any avid comic reader. Fans of Once Upon A Time will also fall in love with this series, that’s a given. Bill Willingham does a wonderful job at bringing these famous characters to life in this murder-mystery story. I’ve heard that not every volume had this structure and that Fables would explore other horizons in storytelling, other than murder-mysteries. I believe this comic series has some pleasant surprises in store for us as we continue to dive into Fabletown.
“And here, united by our common enemy, we learned to set aside old grudges. We forgave our many grievances, to make covenant with each other.”
– King Cole in Fables (Volume 1)
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