Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fables: Sons of Empire, Bill Willingham

I wasn’t a really big fan of the Fables series when I first started reading it which surprised me a bit. After all, I was a voracious fairy tale reader when I was quite young, having devoured all of the “color” fairy tale books in my elementary school’s library in a matter of month. I think part of the reason behind that is that it seemed to me, at least in the beginning, Willingham was only skimming the surface of his fantastic character. I did think the interplay Adversary, the Homeland and Fabletown had a lot of potential, but much of the early volumes felt like soap opera. Within the past few volumes, however, we’ve gotten to know many of the characters on a deeper level and the struggle between the Adversary and the fables has intensified.

I must admit that gruff Bigby is one of my favorite characters in the series so I was happy to see him as a central focus again. I’m really enjoying watching his and Snow White’s pack of children learn, grow and become distinctive entities. I also thought casting Hansel (of Hansel and Gretel fame) as an ascetic, Puritan-like former witch hunter was a brilliant expansion of the original character. Sometimes it seems as if the ones Willingham selects are classic fables in name only, so it’s always nice to see more depth.

In the beginning of the series I was definitely reading to see if they got better and because I’d bought a few volumes at the beginning (since there’s nothing I hate more than discovering I love a comic book series only to run out of issues at hand all too quickly). I very nearly didn’t buy any more, but became convinced after a visit to Jim Hanley’s, that maybe I hadn’t given the series enough time. After all, I’d picked up DMZ, Y: The Last Man and Transmetropolitan within a similar time frame and could not put those down. But I’m glad I gave Fables more time to grow on me.

Rating: 9/10

Genre: Comic book/graphic novel, drama, fantasy

Pages: 200

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