Review: Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

June 10, 2007 Comics, Reviews 2

Fables Vol. 1: Legends in ExileI’ve wanted to start reading Fables for quite a while. A friend of mine did some of her Master’s work on the series, and I’m all about fairy tales and modern adaptations. So I was overjoyed when my boyfriend gave me Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile as a graduation gift. I finally sat down and read it the other day, and… wow. This is everything I’d hoped it would be.

This volume both sets up the Fables world and draws the reader into a murder mystery. All of the fairy tale creatures were forced from their world centuries ago by the conquering Adversary, and they’ve set up shop in New York City, calling their new settlement Fabletown. The story begins with Jack (of beanstalk fame) dashing across town to find Bigby (of “Huff, puff” fame), Fabletown’s detective. There has apparently been a brutal murder, and Bigby must solve the mystery.

Along with finding out what happened to Rose Red, Bigby must work with her sister, Snow White, who happens to be second-in-command to the mayor of Fabletown. Legends in Exile gives the reader not only a great murder-mystery but also begins building wonderful tension between Bigby and Snow White.

There are too many retellings of fairy tales to count, from Marvel’s Fairy Tale miniseries to Robin McKinley’s novels. Some of those adaptations are good, many are crappy, and some make you wish you could bleach your eyeballs (Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty comes to mind). Fables rises to the top of this pile; it blends the familiar fairy tales with modern sensibilities, often with sharply funny results. Snow White runs to Bigby’s rescue in a business suit, heels, and toting a gigantic sword, Beauty and the Beast find that centuries of togetherness do not a happy marriage make, and so on. The artwork is simple but gorgeous, and the covers are particularly lovely.

I’ve promptly added all of the other Fables collections to my Amazon wishlist. This stuff is addictive.