Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fables: Volume 1: Legends in Exile

by Bill Willingham (story), Lan Medina (pencils), Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton (inks), Sherilyn van Valkenburgh (colors), Todd Klein (letters), and James Jean and Alex Maleev (original series covers), 127 pages

When all the different kingdoms of folklore and fairy tale are overrun by an avaricious enemy only known as the Adversary, the denizens of the old worlds regroup in the mundane land of New Amsterdam. In order to survive, they must pull together, so they sign accords granting amnesty for all their past deeds and forge ahead for centuries as carriages give way to yellow cabs and New Amsterdam becomes New York. Things are going as well as they can when Rose Red, civil servant Snow White's wild-child sister, goes missing, leaving a bloody mess behind in her apartment. Bigby, once a scourge of civilization as the big bad wolf, is now a lawman of Fabletown and sets out to solve the mystery before it stirs up too many past grudges and tears their delicately maintained society apart.

Cheezy noir with semi-familiar personalities all tossed together for a somewhat fun, if a bit hokey, entry into a fairy tale-infested universe. Golly, it's been a long time since I read an American-style comic book á la Marvel or DC (the latter's Vertigo imprint, in this case). It'll take me a while to get reacquainted with the color palette and the drawing style, which are not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed aspects of the hammy, tongue-in-cheek story. Philandering playboy Prince Charming (ex of several of the leading ladies), irresponsible slacker Jack of Fables, Beauty and her Beast (in marriage counseling--again), and newly-engaged Bluebeard all make appearances this volume and help fill out this world of literary and cultural refugees. It'll be interesting to see who else shows up in the future and how well they do or do not fit our expectations from what we remember of their sources.

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