Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham (author) Lan Medina, Steve Leilloha and Craig Hamilton

21326When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown’s sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Rating: 8/10

I think I am really going to enjoy this series as I was pretty impressed with this first volume. I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales (despite some of their shady moral lessons) so I was interested to see what new life Bill Willingham was going to bring to these classic characters. Overall, I thought he did a great job of bringing a more modern twist to these characters that they desperately needed. Especially on the princess front.

I was most impressed with his modern depiction of Snow White. Snow White was always my least favorite since I always considered her as the weakest of all the princesses. Now, Snow White has stepped it up and become the person in charge of Fabletown. She’s a take-charge woman who doesn’t allow people to walk all over her, and she knows how to run a town.

It also turns out that Prince Charming is an arrogant womanizer who just uses whatever woman he finds would be most convenient to his needs and desires, and for this, most people in Fabletown look down on him. Especially his various ex-wives and lovers. I found this to be interesting, and rather fitting, since I always felt that Prince Charming was just a little too charming to be genuine.

I am also a fan of the art for this series. It has an older comic book feel that I have always enjoyed. It’s the type of art that really helps the story along, but doesn’t distract from the story. This is one of those stories that can really carry itself without having overly overt images to keep the reader’s attention. The story itself is engrossing, and never once did I want to put it down.

My only issue with this one was that there were a few parts that didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the story. They felt more like an attempt to put as many recognizable fable characters as they could, which I felt they didn’t have to do. The characters they chose for the the main story line where enough to make the reader really feel that they were in a world made-up of fairy tale characters. The little extra scenes weren’t needed for this. Maybe they were inserted because these characters come up later, but these scenes felt very stand alone, not like there was going to be something more to the story later. They were just random. However, there were very few of these scenes and when they came up, they didn’t last long. Maybe a page. So it’s really not a big complaint.

In the end, I’m excited to continue reading this series. I find the characters to be intriguing and I thought that the plot was interesting and well-paced. I would recommend this to most graphic novel/comic fan, as well as those who have always had an interest in fables and fairy tales. Even for those you never really liked them, I would give this new adaptation a chance, since it’s not just Snow White that goes through some drastic changes.


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