Posts Tagged ‘snow white’

#CBR4 Cannonball 17: Fables, Volume 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 13: The Great Fables CrossoverFables, Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the last Fables volume available at my local library, and I wish it had been better.

This volume is a crossover of all three of the Fables comics: Fables (original flavor), Jack of Fables, and The Literals. If you haven’t read any of the Jack of Fables comics, and I didn’t, it’ll be a little jarring to be introduced to so many new characters all at once.

At the Farm, the Fables are trying to regroup and figure out what to do. Mister Dark’s presence in NYC is affecting them, causing people give in to the darker parts of their natures. For Bigby and Beast, this means a knock-down, drag-out brawl. For Rose Red, this means sinking into a deep depression.

When Jack Horner calls, claiming to know how to prevent the end of the Fables, Bigby and Snow take off to see how valid his claims are.

The volume was rather disjointed for me. There’s a lot of meta references, which get to be just a little too twee after a while.

At least the artwork’s back to being good again.

Hopefully, my local library will get Volume 14 in soon. And, hopefully, Volume 14 brings Fables back to its usual levels of ossomness.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 15: Fables, Volume 12: Dark Ages by Bill Willingham

Fables: Dark AgesFables: Dark Ages by Bill Willingham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Dark Ages explored some interesting themes, but some of the artwork was just plain bad, and the skipping from artist to artist hurt my eyes.

This volume is mostly concerned with the aftermath of Fabletown’s war with the Empire. There was a lot of potential here to explore social and political themes, like what happens in a recently-freed land when the oppressor is gone and the people are left to fend for themselves. That was the direction I thought Willingham was going in initially, but, alas, I was mistaken. Instead, Willingham used it as an opportunity to introduce a new villain. I think that’s a missed opportunity, there.

Other than that, the action in this book is a little static. There’s a pretty significant tragedy in the book, but it feels a little bit manipulative and, in my opinion, doesn’t do much to push the book forward. Many of the other events are rather forgettable, although I’m sure Willingham will pick up those threads in the next volume.

It was still a decent read, but certainly my least favorite volume of the series so far.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 14: Fables, Volume 11: War and Pieces by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 11: War and PiecesFables, Vol. 11: War and Pieces by Bill Willingham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is it. The Fables have gone to war with the Empire.

I was a little conflicted about this volume; it’s a fun read, sure, but I was a little disappointed that, after ten volumes of build-up, the war was finished in a single volume. That didn’t seem like enough, and it seemed like a bit of an abrupt resolution to the main issue of the series so far.

The tale is told well, however, and it’s lots of fun watching the action unfold, and seeing the Fables’ strategies playing out. As in any war story, there’s heroism and tragedy. There are battles and plenty of action. There are victories and defeats.

But it did feel rather condensed. I guess, though, if the war wasn’t a long one, there’s no reason to drag it out for the likes of me.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 13: Fables, Volume 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 10: The Good PrinceFables, Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy, oh, boy, was this a good one. When it comes to straight-up action/adventure, I have to give this volume top props.

In Sons of Empire, we learned that Ambrose, also known as Flycatcher, better known to us mundys as the Frog Prince, was destined for an important future. The Good Prince tells the tale of Ambrose’s realization of his fate.

We take a trip down the Witching Well, and are reunited with characters that we thought were dead and gone from as far back as Volume 2, Animal Farm. The scope of the series has grown broader and more epic with each passing volume, and bringing back old characters from the dead is a great way to subtly point that out.

With the help of the Forsworn Knight, who turns out to be Lancelot of Arthurian legend, Ambrose returns to his homelands and establishes a new kingdom: Haven. He means for Haven to be just that: a place where people running from the oppression of the Empire can find sanctuary and solace. But the Empire isn’t going to just let them be. There’s action in the forecast, folks.

Willingham did such a good job of introducing us to Flycatcher early on in the series and painting him out to be little more than comic relief. But he then took the character and made him an unlikely hero, and did it in such a way that it was a complete and refreshing surprise.

It’s also still clear that, regardless of what happens between Haven and the Empire, Fabletown will have to fight its own fight against the Empire. And preparations are being made for just that.

This volume moves the action along at a great pace, and it’s my favorite of the series so far.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 11: Fables, Volume 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 9: Sons of EmpireFables, Vol. 9: Sons of Empire by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sons of Empire was a little up and down for me, but the little bonus at the end brought the volume as a whole back up to solid ground.

The Fables are continuing to prepare for the possibility of war against the Adversary, and the Adversary is now preparing his hostile takeover of the mundy world (that’s our world, y’all). This is especially tough for Pinocchio, who still loves his friends back in Fabletown, even though he’s under a loyalty enchantment to his father, Geppetto (also known as the Adversary).

Here’s one thing I don’t get: the wooden soldiers Geppetto creates to people his armies are so disdainful of “meat” people (humans). Yet, they hold their “father” in such high reverence. It doesn’t make sense to me that they’d think so ill of meat when their own beloved father is meat.

Snow & Bigby continue rearing their rambunctious brood of sons and daughters, and the kids are growing and learning all the time.

There are two special treats at the end of this volume. The first is a Christmas special, and we get to see the Wolf family take a special trip back to the Homelands to visit Grandpa: the North Wind. He and Bigby have a strained relationship, and we get to peek behind the curtain and see why.

By the way, the Wolf kids/cubs are absolutely adorable. Good job, artists.

The second special treat is especially fun. Over the years in which Fables has been in publication, readers have sent in thousands of questions. Willingham and the writers chose eleven questions to answer in one-page comics. Some of them are absolutely hilarious. This segment alone elevates an otherwise unremarkable volume.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 10: Fables, Volume 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 8: WolvesFables, Vol. 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s been a lot of build-up for this volume. Mowgli’s hunting down Bigby, Fabletown is still strategizing for a war against the Adversary, and Snow White is raising six kids/cubs on the Farm.

It’s the will they/won’t they of the series, and we finally get answers. The tying off of that thread is beautifully and satisfyingly done, but Willingham’s a smarter writer than to just leave it there. He knows how to keep us on the line, even though we’ve already gotten the answer to the question we called in to ask in the first place.

In this case, he does so by introducing a new world to us: the Cloud Kingdom. It exists over all of the other kingdoms, which is interesting, considering that we’re already supposed to believe that there are thousands of other dimensions in existence. The Fables want a treaty with the Cloud Kingdom, but the Cloud Kingdom is hesitant to get involved, since the Adversary poses no immediate threat to them.

Wolves was a nice lift after Arabian Nights. I just hope that Willingham can keep the mojo going.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 9: Fables, Volume 7: Arabian Nights by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights by Bill Willingham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

They say that too many cooks spoil the broth. I would say that, sometimes, it’s too many ingredients that spoil it.

Arabian Nights fell a little flat for me. I was excited when Willingham started including characters from the Arabian Nights world. But the storyline involving them wasn’t all that captivating. Also, one of the characters kept calling Sinbad, supposedly the head of this royal retinue, “sirrah.” I gathered that he meant it as a term of honor, but I couldn’t get over the fact that, in English, it has a negative connotation. If what they’re saying in Arabic is going to be translated into English, then shouldn’t that term be translated, too?

The one thing I will say is that Frau Totenkinder is pretty ossom. She’s the wicked witch of “Hansel and Gretl” fame. Her name is German for “dead children,” and she’s ossomly creepy, and Willingham uses her well.

There was a vaguely interesting secondary plotline involving a wooden soldier from the Adversary’s armies. Rodney, a wooden soldier, falls in love with June, a wooden “medic” — she repairs damaged wooden soldiers’ limbs. Together, they travel to find Geppetto and ask him to turn them into flesh so that they can marry and raise children. It’s a sweet, little love story, and a reminder that the soldiers in the enemy’s army are people, too, with cares and lives disturbingly similar to ours.

It’s a nice aside, but I still hope that the next volume gets back to top form again.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 7: Fables, Volume 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean SeasonsFables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mean Seasons is a solid follow-up to The March of the Wooden Soldiers. After the Battle of Fabletown, we get a nice expositional episode that ties up a few loose ends: Snow White gives birth, there’s a regime change in Fabletown politics, and we get to see behind the scenes into Bigby’s operations as Sheriff of Fabletown.

We also get treated to a scene from the past, from Bigby’s time serving in World War II.

And some new threads are also introduced: there’s a serial killer on the loose in Fabletown, we meet Bigby’s father: the North Wind, and Fabletown comes to the cusp of war with the Adversary.

There’s a lot of good exposition in this volume, and I appreciated the character development. Willingham continues to introduce plenty of new characters into the story, but doesn’t do so at the cost of putting any of the original starring cast on the backburner.

All in all, it’s a solid volume, and it made me eager to read the next one.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 5: Fables, Volume 4: The March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden SoldiersFables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m glad that Bill Willingham thought to follow up the somewhat weaker Storybook Love with some good, old-fashioned war. It’s a smart move that gets us all back on the bandwagon of Fables = GOOD, Adversary = BAD.

We start with a seemingly unrelated tale: Little Boy Blue, who served as an aide de camp to the Fable general who led the last stand to protect the last gateway to the mundy world from the Fablelands, tells the sad tale of the fall of that army. In the process, he met and had a night of passion with Red Riding Hood (more nudity. It’s unfortunate, since it kind of tainted this volume for me). They were in love, but, thanks to a misunderstanding, she was left behind, while Blue made it out.

Aside: whenever I think of Little Boy Blue, I can’t help but to think of Michael Emerson:

Some of the art in the beginning of this volume is a little off. Hmm, never thought I’d have much of an opinion about that.

Anyway, so, Snow White is coping with her pregnancy as best she can when she has a dream in which she’s visited by the head of Colin Pig (who was murdered in Animal Farm), who warns her that great danger is coming. This dream puts her on edge.

In the meantime, the rest of Fabletown is dealing with the upcoming mayoral election, which will, for the first time in Fabletown’s history, have a candidate to vote for besides the incumbent, King Cole: Prince Charming.

But before the election can really get off the ground, Fabletown is faced with an unstoppable army that threatens not only to wipe out the citizens of Fabletown, but also threatens to out them to the mundys in the area. Reinforcements are called in from the upstate Farm, but Snow is worried that, without Bigby, who’s gone off to look into a troubling matter to the north, Fabletown won’t be able to hold its ground.

It’s all kinds of fun to see Fabletown gearing up for a battle royale, and to see some of the Adversary’s forces close-up for the first time. The battle itself is pretty epic, and there’s a good enough twist at the end to definitely make you want to pick up Volume 5.

Another solid “episode” of this series.

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#CBR4 Cannonball 4: Fables, Volume 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook LoveFables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Storybook Love; I did. But, as ridiculous as this sounds, I did think that you had to… ahem… suspend your disbelief a little more with this one than you did in the first two volumes of this series.

The volume starts off pretty fun, with a glimpse into Jack Horner’s adventures during the Civil War. It’s funny and pretty charming; he cheats both the Devil and Death in this segment (nudity warning here. Jack be a player). It’s just an aside, so it doesn’t have much bearing on the main story of the volume.

The main storyline comes in two parts. The first is about a mundy reporter who documents the existence of the Fable community. The only thing is, he thinks they’re vampires. Bigby gets a crew together to neutralize the mundy and, in the process, makes an enemy of Bluebeard.

The second part results from Blackbeard’s beef with Bigby, and he enchants Bigby and Snow White and sends them into the Cascade Mountains to be assassinated by Goldilocks, who’s on the lam for her part in the insurrection we saw in Animal Farm. She’s been shacking up with Bluebeard, and he sends her to take down Bigby and Snow.

We see some romantic tensions slowly building between Bigby and Snow, which take a shocking turn at the end of the volume.

bigby wolf and snow white

Bigby in wolf form with Snow. I want to pet him.

While it was still a fun read, there were a lot of little details that seemed a little sloppy to me. For example, Prince Charming begins spying on Bluebeard and discovers that he’s plotting to kill Bigby and Snow. How did he decide to start spying on Bluebeard? How would he communicate with the Mounted Police (Lilliputians riding on Fable mice) to put them on the case? What authority does he even have to put them on the case?

And the whole thing of Bluebeard enchanting Bigby and Snow to get them out camping in the Cascades seemed just a bit lazy to me. I mean, I know you’ve gotta throw them into some crazy adventure to bring them closer together, but, come on.

I can’t believe I’m essentially saying that this story about fairy tale characters living in New York City was a little too unbelievable for me.

But it’s still a fun read, and the characters still hold steady, even if some of the plotlines are a little shaky.

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