Posts Tagged ‘bluebeard’

#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 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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#CBR4 Cannonball 2: Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in ExileFables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” is getting mixed reviews: some people like it, and others hate it, and some are willing to give it a chance because it’s being produced by two of the writers from “Lost.” It’s drawn some comparisons to Bill Willingham’s Fables, but the producers claim that they’re “telling a different story” with the show.

After having read the first volume of Fables, I wish that they’d decided to adapt this for TV instead.

In Willingham’s world, the former residents of the Homelands — better known as characters from popular fairy tales — have been forced into exile because an Adversary has taken over their lands. The Fables, as they call themselves, now live in New York City amongst the “mundies” (mundane people like you and me) in a secret community imaginatively dubbed “Fabletown.” Unlike the wide-eyed innocents of the fairy tales most of us grew up reading, the residents of Fabletown are hardened, jaded, and about as human as fairy folk can get.

In this series, Willingham perfectly blends fairy tales and noir, which I would never have thought possible. His characters have a certain bite to them that’s missing from the ABC show. “Once Upon a Time” is still essentially about the fight between good and evil. The line between the two is deliciously blurred in Willingham’s series. While it’s generally accepted that Adversary = BAD and Fables = GOOD, that doesn’t stop the Fables from bickering amongst each other.

fables

Snow White invites herself to become part of Bigby Wolf's investigation.

In the first volume, Legends in Exile, Willingham introduces us to the main characters. Snow White is the Deputy Mayor of Fabletown. While the Mayor, King Cole, is the figurehead, Snow’s the one who’s really running the show. She’s smart, tough, and determined. Bigby (short for “Big Bad”) Wolf is a reformed villain who now works as Fabletown’s sheriff. The two are forced to work together when Snow’s sister, Rose Red, goes missing. Bigby proves himself to be quite the detective, and the story moves at a solid pace while introducing us to various characters in the Fable world.

The story is smart and entertaining, a novel spin on the fairy tales of your childhood. The artwork is also pretty classic, which adds to the fun of the series. Legends in Exile read like an episode of a television crime procedural to me, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You know I loves me some “Law & Order.” If this volume is the graphic novel equivalent to a pilot episode, then I’m looking forward to the rest of the “series run,” so to speak.

On an unrelated note: I think I watch too much television.

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