“Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2015)

Fables 21 Happily Ever After
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Things are coming to a head in this penultimate collected volume before the final showdown that will conclude the long-running, award-winning series. It is a case of good versus evil, as all great battles are, but the lines are severely blurred between who is good and who is evil.

Rose Red has been reborn as King Arthur, having formed the Knights of the Round Table at the Farm, though her prisoner is not as captive as she thinks. And now she must face her Morgan Le Fay, her villain, who turns out to be none other than Snow White, her sister, naturally. Readers get to see some important back story here with the sisters’ mother, who had her own large number of siblings and according to the way things were, these sisters had to kill each other to gain all the magic, and it is the story of Snow White’s and Rose Red’s mother who changed this.

Meanwhile, Bigby is sort of back. Having been turned to glass and then shattered, he was reassembled with a crucial piece still missing. A woman of immense power now possesses that glass shard and is able to control the big bad wolf, as he rampages around New York City, killing and eating like his fabled legend and being very unlike the kind, loving father we know him to be.

As the crescendo builds, Willingham – as he has done for the whole series – builds the tension and adventure and since this is the end, readers have no clue who is going to make it out alive, if anyone actually is.

Originally written on August 2nd, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Fables Volume 20: Camelot” by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham (Vertigo, 2014)

Fables Camelot
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To say that the comic book series penned by Bill Willingham and illustrated by Mark Buckingham has reached its twentieth collected volume is quite the astonishing feat, but when one considers that it has won fourteen Eisner awards, and is working its way through its second major storyline that continues to build and become more exiting with each volume, it’s not really a surprise at all.

After things continue to take a turn for the worse in the previous collected volume, Snow White, Camelot seeks to create a new hero to try to turn things around with Snow White’s sister, Rose Red. She takes on the role that she feels destined for, the Paladin of Hope, and what better way to do this than with a new Camelot and some brave Knights of the Round Table. One might also call them the Knights of Second Chances, as Rose Red is willing to wipe the slate clean if they prove themselves.

They travel from all the lands, creatures great and small, humans mighty and miniature, but only the bravest and true will succeed and be selected. Red even offers an old enemy a second chance, which sets her at odds against her sister. Snow White refuses to see her sister from now on, keeping what’s left of her family away from her also, feeling betrayal will inevitably come.

Meanwhile the witches and wizards of Fabletown are trying their darnedest to reassemble the glass shards of Bigby Wolf so he can be whole and alive once more. Side stories in Camelot include that of Bigby and Boy Blue in a sort of afterlife, as well as what Gepetto and Junebug are currently up to, and finally the Boy Blue Band go on an adventure into the Homelands.

For a special twentieth volume, Camelot is a nice long read, with a great main story that is ratcheting up the suspense with what is going to happen next, along with some great side stories. It shows that Willingham has so many stories to tell that the reader never knows what’s going to happen or who’s going to appear on the next page. Fables Volume 20 is a worthy addition to the collection that will be a delight to fans everywhere.

Originally written on November 18, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Fables Volume 20: Camelot from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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“Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland” by Bill Willingham, Craig Hamilton and Jim Fern (Vertigo, 2012)

Fables Werewolves of the Heartland
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Fables is back once again with its next installment, this time with a standalone graphic novel that has been rumored about for some time, in Werewolves of the Heartland.  Taking a little break from the goings on of Fabletown, The Farm, and the other worlds, we focus on Bigby traveling through America’s heartland.

Bigby Wolf is on a big new mission: to find a new town, a new place to house all the fables in the mundy world, because after everything that’s happened with Fabletown, they can’t stay there much longer.  Traveling through the great state of Iowa, he finds a small quaint place called Story City, what better name for a potential future home for all the fables?  But Bigby detects strange scents on the air, some that are familiar, and others that just don’t seem right.  Cautiously, he ventures into Story City.

The first thing Bigby notices about this town is that all of its inhabitants are werewolves, and what’s more they all seem to know who he is, as well as about his great legacy.  But then he is suddenly imprisoned, and begins to learn that not all are fans of him; some want his hide; some want him dead so that they can gain his powers.  What none of them seem to realize is that Bigby is also the seventh son of the North Wind, and possesses powers they can only imagine.

Werewolves of the Heartland shows Willingham at his best, as he draws you in with interest, and then blows the plot wide open with back story that goes deep into the past when Bigby was fighting in World War II and revealing his forced part in a terrifying Nazi experiment that has now led to the werewolves of Story City.  Readers and fans will not be disappointed.

Originally written on January 7, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.

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

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

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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.

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