Fables (1): Legends in Exile – Bill Willingham

Fables 01The creatures from stories, fairy tales in particular, have fled an invader of their homelands and arrived in New York City. The more human looking ones integrate into society and establish their own secret community.

This is a really neat idea and you get to see what characters such as Snow White, Jack the Giant Killer and Cinderella do after their tales end and the kind of people they become. All of the characters are well realised with depth, complex human values, emotions and not just paper stereotypes. It is fascinating to see them out of their usual settings yet remaining true to their nature.

The plot is a murder mystery which is a great way to hook your interest and introduce you to a diverse cast. It is very well executed and the parlour scene at the end will have you nodding along sagely. The dialogue is good and although there are chuckles along the way you are laughing with these people not at them.

There are a couple of recaps as the story goes on, which is necessary for a new comic book that is still attracting readers, but redundant in a graphic novel. Cleverly these recaps are presented in different styles and contain additional information for the continuing reader so you don’t mind. The book is full of neat little touches such as each chapter having a little summary as was typical in literature of the period when these characters were originally created.

The art is good solid stuff, very traditional in layout and format. Plenty of detail and good colouring that makes the most of the matt paper typical of Vertigo books. A great idea is that flashbacks are contained in elaborate oil-painting style frames as if a past moment has been captured.

This is a very encouraging start. A great premise, well drawn and written, that won’t let you down. Thumbs Up!

338/27

Tomorrow: Fables (2): Animal Farm – Bill Willingham

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