Fables (9): Sons of Empire – Bill Willingham

Fables 09From the thickness and the crowded “who’s who” at the front you know this is going to be a long read. It is also a good read with a wide variety of narratives.

There are two long stories concerning the conflict with the Homelands and Bigby’s relationship with his father. There are also little interludes too providing a palette cleansing break and some Christmas related merriment. Some reader questions have been expanded into some mini stories as well. Some of these will have you laughing out loud. Willingham is at the top of his game working in multiple genres to evoke fear, joy, sorrow and mirth from his reader with a light and practiced touch.

The art gets a real jolt in this volume. Buckingham draws the main story and throws in some unconventional framing to spice things up. There are some fantastic colour choices too. Michael Allred does a pair of stories, one of two issues and one of two pages. Both are astonishingly different in style than we are used to and look superb. Very creative, really eye-catching and in an entirely different medium than we are used to, but wholly appropriate.

There are more than a dozen guest artists tackling the reader questions and interlude pieces. Joshua Middleton makes an astonishing three page spectacle that looks like a vintage Disney watercolour with some technical focus effects that work very well. The covers also need a mention as they have some very distinct styles and dark imagery.

This is a superb volume with excellent imagination, writing and wonderfully bold art direction. The memorable art and hilarious reader questions just tip this into the Double Thumbs Up!

346/19

Tomorrow: Fables (10): The Good Prince – Bill Willingham

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