Thursday, 29 November 2012

Book #33

Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham

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 out gritty, mundane reality. But that doesn't mean they don't have any room for romance—or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that goes 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 may be my favourite Fables chapter yet. It was thicker and more colourful than its predecessors, and definitely kept me a bit more engaged. There were a good few sub-stories going on throughout this one, and I really enjoyed them. Jack besting Satan in a poker game, the men of Lilliput all trying to chat up Thumbelina, Sleeping Beauty still dropping into a deep slumber as soon as her finger is pricked on anything at all, and Goldilocks being a gun-toting feminist were all just little yarns that made the plot so much more exciting than the previous volumes. This is what I was looking for: insight into the fairy-tale lives of the Fables, not how they behave as humans, which is all I have been subjected to so far.

All of the small twists in the plot contributed a bit more to character background, which was something I was clamouring after in the previous volumes. We find out more about what drives the characters, what makes them tick, and why they behave in the ways they do. I particularly enjoyed the Wolf's story behind his love for Snow White. Very romantic, if a bit bizarre.

The first two installments hinted heavily at the Fables going back to the Homelands to fight and reclaim them as their own. This volume made no mention of this at all, which was disappointing, as surely this is the ultimate aim of the series? It is definitely something I would like to see, so the romantic focus of this one was slightly baffling.

I do feel Willingham points out the obvious quite frequently. He doesn't seem to trust his reader to understand what he's getting at, so instead gives his characters some awfully pointed dialogue to ensure we know exactly who is untrustworthy, clever, or strange. We aren't allowed to work it out on our own without a glaringly obvious conversation being thrown in our faces. It's almost humiliating, but as the book doesn't take too much time to get through, it doesn't matter a great deal.

Once again I am judging on plot and character devices, rather than the illustrations themselves. I have already explained in my reviews of volume one and two that I am a total comic book novice, and a dunce when it comes to illustration. 

Fables now seems to me like a fun story; something to escape with and not take too seriously. It isn't really much more than that; although I really enjoy whizzing through the colourful pages, it will never be something that engages my mind to an epic degree, but I would be more than happy to have a look at the next episode.

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