Friday, January 21, 2011

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Bill Willingham, author
Lan Medina, illustrator
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Vertigo (December 1, 2002)
3/5 stars

The Fables graphic novel series begins with this volume, Legends in Exile. It manages to incorporate both background story as to who the Fables are and a mystery.

The "Fables" are just that: the characters from legends, fables and fairy tales. Their Homelands were invaded and those that had the means to do so escaped into New York City and upstate New York. These refugees form a small Fable Town community, with King Cole presiding and Snow White as second in command.

Jack (of the Tales) discovers his girlfriend Rose Red's trashed and bloody apartment and comes to the one law enforcer of Fable Town, Bigby Wolf (as in The Big Bad). Bigby, with unwanted help from Snow (it's her sister that's missing, after all) questions suspects and unravels the mystery. He delivers the answer in a tongue in cheek, classic mystery "parlor room" setting.

The mystery is interesting and has a good ending. There are some truly witty lines in the dialogue. The characters are generally quite engaging. Bigby is charming in a rough, uncertain way; Snow is arrogant and vulnerable; Bluebeard is appealing and frightening. The twist on their lives and characters is just plain fun fantasy. It's not awe-inspiring, but it is fun.

A short story becomes a graphic novel through the addition of good artwork. The art for this is average. Facial expressions are well done and costumes and fantasy elements are clever. Unfortunately, there were no "Wow" moments, as there are in other graphic novels. The panels don't carry the story forward or add to the story, they are simply illustrations. The one excellent panel was showing Bigby's shadow as a wolf. Other than that. . . well, it felt like any ol' comic book.

That said, and despite my average 3 star rating, I became interested enough in Fable Town to want to read more. I just hope that the illustrations become more of a vehicle to tell the story as the series continues.

~~Read for the Graphic Novels Challenge~~

Note: This is just my opinion; on Amazon 55% of the reviews were 5 stars.

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