So I finally finished all the volumes of Fables that are available at my local library. The total number of volumes read being 12. Honestly, I wish I had stopped with vol. 11 which is the end of the first major story arc. Below volumes 7-9 are reviewed and in the near future I will review 10 and 11. I will not review 12 because it is the beginning of a new story arc, and one I am not sure I will finish. My life and my brain may be a mess of stories half-finished and universes partially understood, but I want to be a little more consistent on this blog.
I liked the first story arc in the graphic novels Fables by Bill Willingham and I’m glad I pushed myself to finish the first story arc in this series. I’m not usually a huge fan of fantasy, enjoying my science fiction worlds and being quite content, but this series is such a delight. Then I got to thinking, wait I do like fantasy, just not all fantasy and the only connection between them all is that there is some sort of modern twist to the fantasy. Either people start out in the modern world and get transported to an alternate fantastical universe or the modern universe is invaded by fantastical creatures or it lurks under the surface of the modern world. In Fables, the story book characters we all grew up reading about have come to settle in the United States far from The Adversary who took over their world and drove them out. It is a delightful collection of quirky characters and a well-developed plot. I definitely recommend giving it a whirl, even if you don’t particularly like to read graphic novels.
Vol. 7 Arabian Nights (and Days)
Summary: The fables of the east and the west meet in this volume. Prince Charming has the dethroned former Mayor King Cole act as a diplomat between the two clashing cultures. King Cole restores peace and travels with the Arabian Fables to Fable Baghdad and helps them prepare for the invasion of the Adversary who is sure to turn his attention to the east now that he has conquered the other fable worlds. Also introduced are two spies from The Adversary living in the midst of Fabletown and how they went from anthropomorphic wooden puppets to real live people with real feelings. Gaining allies, the Fabletown fables prepare for war.
My Thoughts: I thought bringing in some new characters and other stories was quite a delightful way to expand the universe of Fabletown without loosing track of the main characters. King Cole’s chess playing and word plays with the ambassador for the East was pity, witty, and fun to read. I liked that Prince Charming steps up to the plate in the midst of loosing it all and realizes he needs help, a small bit of character development certainly, but fun to watch nonetheless. Beauty and Beast play a more important role in the story arc and their continued relationship through the ages is to be admired.
Vol. 8 Wolves
Summary: When Snow White moved out to The Farm, Bigby left because he wanted to be with Snow White and their cubs (or monsters) and Snow White calls them, but Snow White didn’t see how that could work out. However, Prince Charming needs Bigby for a dangerous mission so he sends Mowgli, recently returned from spying abroad to track down Bigby uses his special senses and understanding of wolves. Mowgli succeeds and brings Bigby back for the dangerous mission, but Bigby still refuses to see Snow White believing that if he fails and ends up dead it was no good to see her and say good-bye again. This volume also includes a short story with Cinderella, who is still spying for the new Sheriff. She has to deal with the Cloud People, trying to gain them as allies for the upcoming war.
My Thoughts: Yay! Back to the Snow White and Bigby story, though in a round about way. I did enjoy tracking Bigby through the world with Mowgli and seeing Bigby return once again as a much-needed fable. The way that all the stories are converging as the fables gather strength and intelligence of the opposition while readying themselves for war is quite amazing. The use of many different old stories to create a fresh new look at the characters is one reason I enjoyed this series from beginning to end, and it is readily apparently in this volume.
Vol. 9 Sons of Empire
Summary: In Sons of Empire we get a glimpse into the other side where a round table discussion has been set up between the powerful fable beings about how to conquer Fabletown and gain control over those fables. Geppetto makes an appearance, still no one realizes his real role. The Snow Queen sets up her domination, and Pinocchio explains how the machines of the Mundy world will make it impossible to out right conquer the new world of the Fabletown fables. Meanwhile Snow White and Bigby take the monsters to visit Bigby’s father, the Northern Wind. Bigby is not happy because Snow White pushed him into it, and indeed the monsters are placed in danger by Bigby’s father’s selfishness. Some of the shorts in this volume included little tidbits on Rapunzel, Santa, and a reporter who is tracking the strange nature of the Fabletown residences even though another reporter was killed for doing the same. Plus, a romance between Flycatcher and Red Riding Hood heats up.
My Thoughts: My second favorite volume of the series, I really really liked this one. The interplay between Bigby, Snow White, and Bigby’s father was so interesting. I really like reading Bigby’s back story even if I can’t hardly look at the way his mouth is drawn. Bigby is no underdog, he is a great big monster of a wolf and he doesn’t back down. He takes care of his family, and that is awesome. I also enjoy time in The Homeland watching the Snow Queen try to set up a way to invade Fabletown. Preparations for the war is heating up on both sides and with immortal storybook creatures involved, the clash of the war will be huge. I can see a story actually taking shape, arcing (which is apparently not a word?), and hopefully culminating in a great story. I’m very hopeful at this point that I may like graphic novels after all.