Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fables, Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Source: Library 
Authors(s): Bill Willingham
Illustrator(s): Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton & James Jean 

Synopsis: When 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 live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber. 

Review: Thank you, Hello Giggles, for having an article about comics that listed Fables as one of the many recommendations one should try. Fables was a quick read for me and I enjoyed how the creators took all the characters from the fairy tales we know, twisting them into these complex and more fully fleshed characters. 

While there is an entire cast of characters, Snow White is the star of this first installment. And with good reason! Gone is the sweet young woman who sings as woodland creatures surround her in the forest. This Snow White is a hardened, sharp-tongued woman who kicks ass in her position as deputy to the mayor of Fabletown. She has some ovaries of steel, man. As we learn more about her backstory--including her divorce from her prince husband--we start to realize that Snow's past is less picture perfect and more horror story. The story hints at some dark times but Snow proves herself as a force to be reckoned with. 

Her sister Rose Red and Bigby Wolf are the other two characters that leap out within the story. While the story doesn't immediately portray her in a positive light, we as readers are left wondering what are Rose Red's motivations for being so reckless and what caused her disappearance. Bigby is another intriguing character; he's not known for being a good Samaritan in the original story of The Three Little Pigs but he proves to be more than a decent detective and a possible love interest for Snow. (I hope that Snow and Wolf become a thing because I ship it. ♥ ) They were great as they worked together to solve Rose's apparent murder but they CLEARLY have chemistry. The rest of the supporting characters--Rose's ex lovers, the prince, and the rest of the fairy tale characters--don't overtake the story in this first comic but we learn enough of them to realize that they all have their own backstories and interests that are sure to be explored in future installments. 

As for the mystery revolving Rose Red, the story actually took enough twists and turns that I didn't see it coming! Maybe I should have because there were enough clues but I'm blaming how much fun I was having with this first installment that blinded me to the obvious trail of clues. 

Final Verdict: Fables is less Disney and more gritty. I had a kick with how subversive the story was and how Snow is portrayed as this tough badass who takes no prisoners. I'm excited to learn more about her character and what else will happen with her continuing story. I also really like how the creators are threading together these fairy tales to create plot lines that go beyond what you'd find in the original stories. Fans of Once Upon a Time would definitely enjoy this series. I'm also curious to learn more about the Adversary. This "enemy" was mentioned briefly but my curiosity is piqued. 


  1. Oooo I definitely like the sound of this Sandy! I don't read too many comics or graphic novels, but I've loved the ones I have tried and a darker, grittier version of famous fairytales is something I don't want to miss! Lovely review:)

  2. Oh, It's on like donkey kong! So much catnip for me!!!!
    I need to read this nows