Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fables: Vol. 1 - Legends in Exile - Review

Who's Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf? Lawbreakers!

A mysterious villain known as The Adversary has plundered all of the kingdoms and realms where the fictional characters of literature have dwelled since they were created. Those few who were lucky enough to escape with their lives moved into New York City into a district they call Fabletown. These "Fables" try to live in secret among the "mundanes," but when Rose Red is brutally murdered with no leads, witnesses, or a body, it's up to Fabletown's sheriff, Bigby "Big Bad" Wolf, to solve the case. With the help of Deputy Mayor Snow White, he'll have to follow the leads and his nose in order to keep this murder case out of the public eye and bring justice to his fellow Fables.

Created and written by Bill Willingham, Fables is an ongoing series published by Vertigo Comics. It's unique and urban fantasy style have made it a juggernaut in the comics community, and it's for good reason. The characters are deep, the dialogue snaps, and the artwork is a wonderful mix of comic book and storybook style. Seeing these characters in a contemporary setting, but still originating from their fairy tale roots, is a delight on every page.

The Big Bad Wolf, or Bigby Wolf as he's now known, is the sheriff and lead detective of Fabletown. Since the Fables have moved to the real world, all previous atrocities and crimes have been wiped clean from their records. Bigby has been considered the most reformed, not slipping once since his move to the world of the mundanes. It's this level of dedication that made Bigby the lead detective of his people. That and his uncanny ability to sniff out leads. He often has ulterior motives when it comes to investigations, but his intents always seem to be in the best interests of everyone else.

Snow White is portrayed as a woman who has been burnt by the royal system and now runs it. Her former Prince Charming, who spends his days as a con-artist, preying on unsuspecting women, cheated on her with her sister Rose Red, and drove her to become the modern woman she is now. As the Deputy Mayor she basically controls all of Fabletown. King Cole, who is acting mayor, is really only a political figure for ceremonies and events. When there's business to be done, it's Ms. White who is at the forefront of the problem. She demands to be let in on the case of her murdered sister, and keeps Bigby on a tight leash.

One of the coolest things about this series is the little cameos from famous characters in fairy tale literature. Characters like Beauty and The Beast, Little Boy Blue, and even one of the Three Little Pigs make for great supporting cast members, but also very hilarious social situations. One of the pigs constantly tries to crash on Bigby's couch, claiming that he owes him for destroying his house and nearly eating him. He's always found sleeping somewhere on someone else's property.

The overall plot is a well crafted detective story, and the added supernatural and larger than life situations leave the possibilities for foul play infinite. Bigby never lets the dramatic value of the story slip, and it shows through Willingham's writing. After reading this first volume I can honestly say that I'm hooked. You can look forward to me reviewing most of this series over the summer.

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