The Fables are back again in a new collected volume and up to plenty of antics. Willingham is still putting the pieces together for the next big saga of Fables and the blossoming full story isn’t clear yet, but readers are having a lot of fun along the way with the different subplots. Snow White and Bigby wolf have always known that one of their cubs was destined for a great role, and its seems like it’s been filled when Winter begins training for the role of the North Wind, but each cub has a prophecy and some are fulfilled in this 18th volume, Cubs in Toyland.
Therese is an easily confused child, and when she finds herself a toy boat that talks to her, she is more than gullible. The cub is led on a journey to a river, where the toy boat enlarges to a real-sized one. She hops on and is taken across a great ocean through storm and sea until she reaches an island of broken and discarded toys, the misfits of toy society who all have voices and personalities. They want little in life but to have a new queen to love them. Therese thinks she might be this person, but soon discovers there is no food on the island, and begins to starve, while the incessant toys turn her into a dark and twisted person as time passes.
Darien is the leader of the pack and has always known he is the hero and must do everything he can, no matter what he takes. He follows the clues about his missing sister and crosses the great ocean to find this distant land of mutated toys and knows what he must do to save his sister.
Cubs in Toyland is a great stand-alone story of the Fables universe, exploring some of the roles that the cubs of Snow and Bigby are destined to fulfill, pushing and pulling on the emotions of the reader, as they are ultimately just children, even if they are fables. Included in the collection is the story of Bufkin in the Land of Oz, illustrated by Shaw McManus.
This new volume in the award-winning and fabulous Fablesseries features the familiar, amazing artists Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha, and some well known guest artists with Eric Shanower and Terry Moore. Shanower pencils an interesting introductory tale from fableland, while Terry Moore does the art of the moving final tale of “Waking Beauty.”
At the heart of the volume is the story of the “super team.” Mr. Dark has Fabletown bowing to his whim, wreaking his evil and darkness, and must be stopped at all costs. He is now growing his dominance in the land of fable, blocked by a protective force field by Flycatcher. They’re going to need a crack team of really strong fables, the F-Men, to stop this Mr. Dark. They’re going to need the likes of Werewolf Man, and The Golden Knight, and maybe the Green Witch. They’ll need training and simulations to be ready, but ultimately someone much stronger will be needed to take down this master of darkness and fear.
Super Team does what every volume since the start has done: furthered the compelling story, as well as introducing new material and new fables, to keep the readers hooked. The fresh art styles of Shanower and Moore add to the magic, making this volume a requirement for any fan.
The dynamic duo who’ve been entertaining fans for years with the fantastic comic book series Fables now turn their writing and illustrating talents to middle readers. Down the Mysterly River is a quaint, entertaining tale that straddles a perfect balance between a memorable fable or fairy tale, and a great kid’s story. Combining Bill Willingham’s skill as a storyteller and Mark Buckingham’s recognizable illustrations, this book is a delight for anyone, be they child or adult.
Max “the Wolf” is the best of the best when it comes to Boy Scouts, so when he wakes up to find himself in a strange and unfamiliar place, the last thing he’s going to do is panic. He’s got his tools and his abilities to tackle anything. When a badger named Banderbrock shows up and starts talking to him, Max thinks it’s a little weird – maybe he’s dreaming? – but keeps on going. Before long he’s on the run from a group of hunters and their snarling hounds, picking up new friends along the way: Walden the black bear and McTavish the Monster (who looks quite a bit like an old barn cat). The question is will they be able to keep themselves from getting caught, and why is this all happening to Max anyway?
With the war done and over, the next chapter in the incredible saga of Fableskicks it into high gear under the skilled pen of Bill Willingham and artistic pencil and color of Mark Buckingham as Mr. Dark is finally confronted and a character that has been hiding from the world for some time returns.
Rose Red has shut herself away from everything since Boy Blue died, unable to face her job and role as the one in charge of The Farm. But now things are going downhill fast, and dissension is growing and getting out control at The Farm, as the natives are getting restless and plots are being hatched and it seems like a coup may be in the works. With continued visits and visitations from the decapitated pig, Rose Red also receives a visit from her mother and is finally pulled out of whatever dark place that she’s been in, pulls herself together, cleans herself up and addresses everything that’s going on at the farm. At the same time, readers get to see the story of Rose Red’s and Snow White’s childhood, the good times and bad together, and of course those infamous seven dwarfs.
Meanwhile back at Fabletown, Mr. Dark has his minions and is becoming scarily powerful. The Fables mount their first attack with magic and witchery from Totenkinder, destroying his zombie followers and finally stopping this creature of nightmare and fear. Celebrations over this defeat are short lived however, as Mr. Dark breaks free of his supposedly unbreakable bonds and seems little the worse for wear.
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The Eisner award winning comic book series returns at a poignant moment. The great war between the good and evil fables is finally at an end. All should be right with the world. The fables should be able to return to their Homelands. Everything should return to normal, as it once was, centuries ago.
Except this isn’t the case.
The fables in our world are slowly recovering from the war, surprised at the few numbers that died, while on the Adversary’s side, the number of dead are immeasurable. That is except for Boy Blue, who suffered an injury from a magical arrow. The fables’ best doctor thinks he has him all cured, but Boy Blue isn’t getting any better; in fact each day he looks much worse, one step closer to death, which would be wrong for one of the greatest heroes of the war. Meanwhile there are those in the Homelands who are searching through the spoils, and they inadvertently awake a dark and terrible creature, a bogeyman that haunts our dreams, hides under our beds at night, and terrifies us from the closet. He is the one whose power the fables have been using for so long to use their magical devices, and he’s very angry.
The Dark Ages starts a fascinating new plot line, reassuring any Fables fans that now the big war is over, Willingham isn’t done by any means, but merely with an important chapter in the Fables storyline, with plenty more tales to tell. The use of magic and power for the war was at an immense cost, as The Dark Ages shows. The question now remains who will live and who will die with this new evil loose amongst the fables.
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Whether this is the first time you’ve looked upon the world of the Fables comic book series, or you’re an issue to issue addict (like me); 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a graphic novel that anyone can read and enjoy: Bill Willingham says exactly this in his introduction. Working with a host of different artists, including Mark Buckingham (who illustrates the series), John Bolton (Harlequin Valentine), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother) and Charles Vess (Stardust, Ladies of Grace Adieu); 1001 Nights of Snowfall is the graphic novel you’ll want to own and show off to friends.
Featuring a collection of stories, the book is framed with Snow White’s meeting with a misogynistic Sultan who intends to kill her when he is through with her. To prevent this, Snow White must tell a new story to him each night to stay his lethal hand. From her stories we find out about Bigby’s (the big bad wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Three Little Pigs” fame) birth, his youth, and how he felt being the outcast of the family. We learn of an unusual story of a woman’s learning to defend herself with a sword coupled with the mysterious deaths of seven dwarfs. We learn about the life of a frog who was magically transformed into a prince, but then turned himself back into a frog to save himself as his wife and family were slaughtered. Then there is the story of the real Hansel and Gretel, showing in detail what really happened when the witch tried to cook them. The final story is about the animals of Fable banding together with Old King Cole to protect their realm.
With lots more stories to tell, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is the book you want for cold winter nights by the fire, when you can lose yourself in a world where the many characters you grew up reading about come to life and live everyday lives. And if, after this, you are looking for more, you might just want to start the Fables series from the beginning with Fables: Legends in Exile, available wherever graphic novels are sold.
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