Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fables: Volume 3

Fables Volume 3
(Storybook Love)
Written by: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: Brian Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina and Linda Medley
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
May 2004, $14.99
Genre: Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

In the Fables' world, there isn't a lot of happily-ever-after to go around. As refugees from the lands of make-believe, the Fables have been driven from their storybook realms and forced to blend in with our gritty mundane reality.

But that doesn't mean they don't have any room for romance--or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that go along with it. In fact, love may be blooming between two of the most hard-bitten, no-nonsense Fables around. But are they destined for happiness--or a quick and untimely death?


This trade collects issues 11 – 18 of the series that I am quickly beginning to heart big time. I love Fables because it has characters I grew up with as a child and puts them into our own. I have Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, Bluebeard, Goldilocks and Bigby Wolf, Snow White and more. How could I not be captivated? Though there is not a single story arc like the first two volumes, we instead get four different tales: two one shots, a continuation of sorts from Animal Farm and a two part caper.

In “Bag o’ Bones” Jack, of giant killing fame, ends up having an adventure that involves a beautiful woman, Death and possibly the Devil. It is no surprise that Jack is a bit of a trickster and the results of hijinks have some fairly humorous and graphic results. It is a short piece, but fun.

The two-part caper "Sharp Operation" & “Dirty Business” involves a reporter contacting Bigby Wolf to alert him that he knows the secrets of Fabletown. Or does he? Actually he thinks that the Fables are immortal vampires. Regardless the man must be stopped. Along with Sleeping Beauty, Boy blue, Jack, Bluebeard and Prince Charming, Bigby has a plan to stop him without killing him. Of course Bluebeard has his own ideas and if you’ve ever thought Bluebeard was a good guy you wont after this volume. This is a good story as well and not only furthers Bluebeard’s character arc, but I love how they used Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty).

The main story “Storybook Love” continues not only Bluebeard’s storyline but is essentially a follow up to Volume 2 “Animal Farm”. This is the longest story in this volume as Bigby and Snow are on the run from a militant and very insane Goldilocks who is keen on finishing the job she started back on the Farm. However, not all of the action is centered on Bigby and Snow in the woods, but back in Fabletown where Prince Charming squares off with Bluebeard and decides to take his future into his own hands. This was one of my favorites. Not only is fairly graphic, but it ties up some ends and creates some great new plot twists as well. I like Snow and Bigby a lot, though their relationship could get fairly interesting from this point on.

The last story is “Barleycorn Bride” where Bigby tells the story of how the Lilliputians found brides their own size because let’s face it there needs to be at least one more woman other than Thumbelina. It’s short and not my favorite, but others many find charm in it.

Things I loved: As I said I really enjoy the subject matter of this series and the imagination behind it all. The stories are funny, entertaining and at times like something out of a slasher flick which of course makes the horror geek all smiley. While not one complete story arc, we do get a lot of development on some prominent players such as Snow, Bigby, Prince Charming and Bluebeard. I like that just as Snow is starting to show some vulnerability, especially when it comes to Bigby, that the unexpected occurs.

* I loved seeing Bigby go all Big Bad Wolf. He’s a great character. In the fairytales Wolf is always the bad guy. And while Bluebeard may have charm and charisma, Bigby is the hero. He may not want to be said hero, but he is one nonetheless.

Things I didn't love so much: It is a bit disjointed, but whenever you do trades you are bound to get some one-shots mixed in with the series arcs. Of the two one shots, I did enjoy Jack’s tale rather than that of Barleycorns which was a bit too meh for me. While the one shots merely tell tales from the world that has been created and feature some lesser known characters sometimes they do end up feeling like filler and that was the Barleycorn tale for me.

* Usually I like the artwork and this volume was a bit hit or miss for me. While I enjoy seeing different artists come in, like Carey’s Lucifer series some of the changes in the way a character looks is sometimes hard to swallow (like Bigby). Or maybe I just like my wolf more gruff and less caveman like.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow if you are new to the Fables verse, but a must have for fans of the series.

Part of: The Fables Series
Legends in Exile (Volume 1)
Animal Farm (Volume 2)
Storybook Love (Volume 3)
March of the Wooden Soldiers (Volume 4)
The Mean Seasons (Volume 5)
Homelands (Volume 6)
Arabian Nights and Days (Volume 7)
Wolves (Volume 8)
Sons of Empire (Volume 9)
The Good Prince (Volume 10)
War and Pieces (Volume 11)
The Dark Ages (Volume 12)

Also Recommended: Jack of Fables also by Willingham or Grimm’s fairytales perhaps. *smile*

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

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