Title: Fables: Legends in Exile
Author: Bill Willingham, James Jean, & Alex Maleev
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Genre: Graphic Novel, Urban Fantasy
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Years ago, the people and creatures of fairy tales lived in their own, magical land. But a mysterious dark creature drove them out, and now they live in modern-day New York, trying to stay under the radar. When Snow White’s sister, Rose Red, disappears, she asks Wolf (as in the Big Bad variety) to help her find out what happened, despite the sisters’ differences over the long years.
Fairy tale characters coming to life seems to be an all-too-common theme these days, but Bill Willingham was one of the first to tackle this now-ubiquitous subject with his graphic novel series Fables. In it, he details the lives of the various mythical creatures and people of storybook fame who eke out a living in New York. For every successful Snow White, who virtually runs the underground fairy tale community called Fabletown, there is a Prince Charming, who’s fallen on rough times and is considering auctioning off his title for money.
The plot of Fables: Legends in Exile is pretty straightforward: A missing woman who seems to have been in some sort of trouble. And the story goes pretty much where you’d expect it to. But that’s not what’s remarkable about this series; the story is merely the mechanism for Willingham to explore this new world. There are some truly amazing characters in this graphic novel. The author’s unique conceptions about these characters we think we all know is wonderful; he’s creative and whimsical with each of them. It’s a lot of fun to see where each of them has ended up.
Behind the story of Fables: Legends in Exile is the question of what forced these characters out of their home. There’s not too much information about it in this first volume, but it’s a tantalizing enough overarching storyline to bring readers back for more. What’s more the drawings are creative and vivid. They tell the story so well, illustrating so much in such small panes. Willingham’s artistry makes this graphic novel a delight to read.
If you’re looking for a new graphic novel series, or perhaps you haven’t given them a chance yet and would like to, Fables: Legends in Exile is a great place to start. With this first volume, I’m already hooked and am excited to delve back into the world of Fabletown for more.