“Fables, Volume 17: Inherit the Wind” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2012)

Fables Inherit the Windstarstarstarstar

A new storyline continues in the unique world of Fables, as we focus on our main story at hand: that of Bigby and his family.  The great North Wind was the one to finally slay the seemingly indestructible Mr. Dark, but has paid the ultimate penalty in losing his life.  Now a successor must be chosen to take the throne, and Bigby has renounced all intentions of this, so it will be up to one of his and Snow’s cubs to take the mantle.  The question is which one?  The parents get to watch as their children are subjected to a series of trials and tests by the North Wind’s servants, while the East, West and South winds hungrily watch, looking to seize this power vacuum.

Meanwhile, things continue along in the rest of the world, as Rose Red continues cleaning up and making sure everything is right on the Farm; the monkey Bufkin continues his attack against the new ruler of the Pan Ozian Empire; and deep in the shadows of Castle Dark, Nurse Spratt prepares herself for revenge, awaiting her first victim.

Inherit the Wind continues a number of Fables storylines, keeping readers riveted as to what is happening with some of their favorite characters.  Along with some secondary storylines, it makes for another great collection of entertaining plot and beautiful artwork.

Originally written on October 24, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables: Inherit the Wind from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Fables Dark Ages  Fables Crossover  Fables Witches  Fables Rose Red  Fables Superteam

“A Flight of Angels” illustrated by Rebecca Guay and written by Bill Willingham, et. al. (Vertigo, 2011)

A Flight of Angels

Every once in a while a graphic novel comes along that steals the show on whatever it’s competing with on the shelf or display or endcap; A Flight of Angels is one of those books.  The cover catches the eye with its color, complexity and style, right away piquing one’s interest, and then known names like Bill Willingham and Holly Black force the curious reader to pick it up and start reading.

Talented artist Rebecca Guay is known for illustrating fantasy and children’s books, including stories by the likes of Ursula K. LeGuin, Bruce Coville and Jane Yolen; and most recently The Last Dragon graphic novel with Jane Yolen.  Guay conceived and illustrates A Flight of Angels which explores the fantasy concept of angels and how they’ve interacted with humanity.  In the framing story, written by Holly Black, a number of fairy characters find the body of an angel who has yet to return to consciousness, and they mull over whether to let him live or die.  It’s a great setup for some great storytelling, as each character tells a tale they have learned about angels, and whether they are to be feared or respected.  A Flight of Angels features stories penned by the likes of Bill Willingham, Alisa Kwitney, Louise Hawes, and Todd Mitchell.

What is most surprising and mesmerizing about this book is that even though it’s illustrated by one artist, each story feels like it is done by its own unique artist, with its own special distinctive style.  The stories are compelling, and overall the book has a feel of a moving fairytale fantasy, akin to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel works in faerie.  It is a delight to read and enjoy, and will be appreciated by anyone caught up by its distinctive cover.

Originally written on January 1, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of A Flight of Angels from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.


“Fables Volume 16: Super Team” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Eric Shanower and Terry Moore (Vertigo, 2011)

Fables Super Team

This new volume in the award-winning and fabulous Fables series 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.

Originally written on December 30, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Super Team from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables Volume 15: Rose Red” by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2011)

Rose Red

With the war done and over, the next chapter in the incredible saga of Fables kicks 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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Originally written on April 10, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Fables Volume 14 Witches” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2010)

Fables Witches

In the fourteenth volume of the award-winning Fables comic book series, writer Bill Willingham reveals his true intentions with the next important story arc after the great war between the good fables from our world and the evil ones of the Homelands.  What’s left of Fabletown is a destroyed ruin, while its new king and owner, the mysterious and terrifying Mister Dark – the substance of all your nightmares and more – is building his own lair, plotting and planning.  Meanwhile the disowned fables are hanging out at the Farm in Upstate New York, working out what they can possibly do against the powerful and seemingly unstoppable Mister Dark.  The powerful witches of the former 13th Floor are plotting together to stop him, while Frau Totenkinder has an idea up her sleeve and disappears into an unknown place in the Homelands.  And on another story, the now disconnected and lost business office, the giant home to all things fantastic and fable has managed to free the evil witch Baba Yaga, who employees the great genii to help her; it will be up to Bufkin, a flying monkey, to save the day.

Witches pushes this growing story a little further along, adding some new characters and building on some familiar ones, as small, insignificant fables become mighty heroes, while others seem stumped in their current predicament.  Willingham and Buckingham do what they do best, keeping this series fresh and addicting for readers who will be left impatiently awaiting the next collected volume.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on December 22, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Northlanders Book Four: The Plague Widow” by Brian Wood, Leandro Fernandez (Vertigo, 2010)

Plague Widow

In the fourth volume of the fantastic Northlanders series – on the incredible world and story of the mighty Vikings – Brian Wood once shows two important things: 1) The time of the Vikings was an incredibly complex one that many have misunderstood; 2) Wood has some incredible stories to tell about them.

In the style of Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, Wood seeks to tell a lot of story and happenings on a large scale under the microscope of a small setting.  In this case it is a lone Viking town on the Volga River circa 1020, which has been beset by plague.  The bodies are piling up and are taken away to be buried in the icy ground.  There are some that think they know ways of protecting one from the plague, while others turn to their Nordic gods for saving.  Then, as winter settles its icy embrace upon the village, everything changes.

Gunberg has had it with the people of the council, who dither and dally and never decide on anything to his liking, so with his posse, he has plans to change all that.  With the constant fear of the plague, the freezing winter and famine taking place, he take matters into his own hands and intends to carry out his worst hopes.  Meanwhile the plague widow of the story must do what she can to survive and suffer through incredible odds and extremes to survive, both the harsh weather and the evil Gunberg.

With some incredible artwork from Leandro Fernandez, The Plague Widow is a great test-tube sample of what can happen when a village is put under harsh weather conditions and infected with a contagion: who will stand and fight, who will cower and die, and who will just watch by the wayside, doing nothing.  The time of the Vikings was a fascinating and complex one, spanning many years and a large portion of the world; The Plague Widow is just one incredible insight into this unforgettable time.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on December 22, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

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Blood is in the Snow Cross and the Hammer Northlanders

“American Vampire” by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquereque (Vertigo, 2010)

American Vampire

In a time when the idea of a vampire is seen as a hero, a character to be respected, revered, lusted after, especially if they have big dark eyes and glitter in the sun; Scott Snyder (author of Voodoo Heart) and Stephen King (his first time writing a comic book) look to bring back the kind of vampire that sent you running and screaming in fear, in American Vampire.

There are two storylines going on here in this first collected volume, one told by Snyder, one by King; both set in the past.  Snyder’s story is of 1920’s Los Angeles and the growing movie stars of Hollywood.  Pearl is a young girl looking to make it big in the movies, but at the moment is doing her best at being an extra.  Until she needs to stand in with the male lead and gets invited to one of the infamous Hollywood parties.  But the producer and others in the movie business are vampires and have other plans for Pearl, torturing her and leaving her for dead.  But a stranger finds her and turns her into a different kind of vampire; his name is Skinner Sweet.  Now Pearl has plans of revenge for these vampires who hurt her.

King’s storyline is of Skinner Sweet, in the old west; his origin story.   A criminal who is found, killed and buried, but unbeknownst to his vampire murders, he has received some of their blood and is turned himself, into a new kind of vampire.  After spending decades buried beneath the ground, he is freed to get his revenge at those who killed him.

Snyder’s idea originally, the two writers have concocted a new and terrifying world of the undead, where the average person plays a little part in the story other than a source of blood.  There are the ancient European vampires, great in numbers but vulnerable to all the known ways of their kind.  Then there is the new, “American vampire,” who thrives on the sun, is stronger and more horrifying, but has a weakness of being vulnerable when there is no moon.  American Vampire is a welcoming new tale of the undead for the twenty-first century.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on October 26, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“The Unwritten Volume 2: Inside Man” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo, 2010)

Unwritten: Inside Man

The dynamic duo of Mike Carey and Peter Gross return with the second volume of the complex and fascinating story of the Unwritten, continuing to magically blend the worlds of reality and story together.  Tom Taylor is a real person, but he’s also the son of a missing bestselling author whose incredibly popular books (think Harry Potter) feature a main character named Tommy Taylor.  In the final volume the character supposedly passes from the world of fiction into reality.

In the previous volume, Tom Taylor was implicated as the instigator of a massacre, and now finds himself incarcerated at Donostia prison in Southern France; his cell mate is an undercover journalist with some strange powers.  Taylor finds the world of real and unreal blending once more as he is pulled into the epic tale of the Song of Roland, a story that is purported to have taken place close to the prison location, ending in another great massacre.  And just as Taylor thinks himself done and free from his current predicament, he finds himself pulled into another reality, another time: Stuttgart, 1940, where he must save a novel written by a Jewish dissident, Jud Süss, only it’s being turned into an anti-Semitic propaganda film by none other than Joseph Goebbels.

Carey and Gross continue the story of The Unwritten along a most mysterious road, making it one of the most interesting pieces of writing being written today as the reader has very little idea of what is going to happen or where the characters are going to be taken next.  Fortunately, while this is an entertaining story blending the worlds of fiction and reality, Gross’s artwork keep the definitions clearly defined, preventing any confusion for the reader.  The question is where will The Unwritten go next?

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on October 26, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Fables Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love” by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus (Vertigo, 2010)

Fables: Cinderella: From Fabletown with Lovestarstarstar

Chris Roberson, after writing for Jack of Fables in the Fables universe, takes on the enigmatic character of Cinderella in From Fabletown with Love.  Pretty much everyone has an idea in their minds of what Cinderella is really like, how she fell in love with Prince Charming, her Fairy Godmother, amazing dresses and the ball, and living happily ever after.  But for anyone who’s picked up one of the Fables books, you’ll know that the stories of the fairytales and magical creatures we’ve all known about since childhood are quite different, and the supposed “happily ever after” with each story isn’t so much the case.

Turns out once Cinderella got to really know Prince Charming, she discovered he wasn’t such a great guy, and doesn’t seem to care much for Cinderella’s personality.  So these days she spends some of her time working at her store – The Glass Slipper – selling shoes to the fables.  But this is not her real job; Cinderella is in fact an undercover agent, a covert spy.  In From Fabletown with Love, readers get to see the spectrum of Cinderella’s abilities, and it has very little to do with her looks.  Her new case is to find out who’s smuggling fable artifacts out of Fabletown and selling them to mundies (normal people) in the real world.  The mission will take her around our world and into the fable lands, keeping the reader hooked, wanting to know what happens next, and how Cinderella will make it out alive.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on September 29 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Northlanders Book Three: Blood in the Snow” by Brian Wood, Dean Ormston, et. al. (Vertigo, 2010)

Blood in the Snowstarstarstarstarstar

In the third volume of the fascinating Northlanders series, Brian Wood takes readers on new adventures into the world and history of the Vikings.  What makes Northlanders such an interesting and original series are Wood’s storylines, beginning in the first volume with Sven, but then taking readers on different tangents and facets of the Vikings.  The series is like a full history course on the Vikings, all told through the medium of the graphic novel.

In Blood in the Snow, Wood begins with the monastery at Lindisfarne, one of the richest and favorite areas to attack and pillage, exploring the way of life for some Vikings, consistently attacking and ransacking for more riches.  In the second story, “The Viking Art of Single Combat,” Wood tells the tale of a battle between two champions, between two families who have been at war with each other for generations.  After this battle, they will be at peace for a little while.  As these two war veterans face off, the reader sees their world and their lives through their eyes, understanding what they hold dear, and why their revenge is so strong.

In the third tale, “The Shield Maidens” – which deserves some awards – Wood tells the story of three Viking wives who are trapped and under attack from a hoard of Saxons, and how they work together, use their strengths, and miraculously escape, separated, with their lives, and their reunite years later.  In the final tale, “Sven the Immortal,” the reader sees a Sven now old but still strong, who must fight for his family and his life one more time.

The Northlanders series just gets better with each volume, keeping readers hooked with interest and wonder at what story Brian Wood is going to tell next, what journey he will take the Vikings on, and what battles will be waged.  Well researched, this series is one of the best there is being written today in the world of graphic novels.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally written on May 18 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

If you liked this review, you might also like:

Northlanders Volume 1 Northlanders Volume 2 Vikings, Saxons, and Celts The Vikings