Sunday, 2 June 2013

Fables: Legends in Exile

Written by: Bill Willingham, art by Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton
Number of Pages: 145 pages
Genre:  Graphic novel, comics, fantasy, murder mystery,

Fables is a comic book series published by Vertigo Comics which started in 2002 and is still ongoing, having reached 129 issue so far.  Basically, all the characters and creatures from fairy tale and folklore, who call themselves "Fables", have been driven out of their various magical worlds by a powerful enemy known only as "The Adversary".  The only world safe from the Adversary is the mundane, or "mundy", world which is our world.  So the Fables escape to contemporary New York City where they form an uneasy community trying to keep their true magical nature hidden from the mundy world and also trying to retake their homelands from the Adversary.
This book collects the first five issues of the series.  It's basically a murder mystery story in which the Fables' sheriff, the reformed Big Bad Wolf who has taken human form and the name Bigby Wolf, tries to solve the mystery of the disappearance and possible brutal murder of Rose Red, who happens to be the estranged sister of Snow White, the Fables' deputy mayor.

It's a completely self-contained story although with sub-plots and references that spin off into a larger Fables     narrative and can be read and enjoyed on it's own merits without picking up any of the other volumes.  The series hits the ground running with an entertaining story and distinctive characters.  Even the minor characters are developed well with their own personalities and relationships.  The idea of fairy tale characters in the modern world is not a new one but Fables has always worked with it better than most.  The art is detailed and colorful.

The book also contains a short prose story by Bill Willingham about how the Big Bad Wolf came to join the Fables, and a short comic story which fist appeared in the 2009 book Peter and Max: A Fables Novel.

It is definitely worth checking out for fantasy fans.

A word of warning though, although it's about fairy tales and magical creatures it is definitely not for kids.  It contains some strong language, violence and sexual scenes.


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