Review: Fables and Jack of Fables

Fables #70

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Fables is Bill Willingham’s magnum opus that employs the Fables of mostly Western culture to weave an incredibly complex tale of epic proportions. There was a lot of self-serving bullshit in that first sentence, but it also happens to be true. The basic outline of the plot of Fables is this: Thousands of years ago, the Fables were driven out of their homelands by the Great Adversary. The Adversary ransacked and conquered most of the known fable worlds and currently holds them in his iron grip. The Fables fled to our world where the majority of them, the ones that could pass for human, took up residence in Fabletown… a small village in New York. As for the ones that couldn’t pass, they were relegated to The Farm. A take on the classic Animal Farm without the Orwellian underpinnings. The Farm is mostly a happy place and it’s where the bulk of this issue’s story takes place. The previous arc dealt with the establishment of a new Fable-friendly kingdom in the homelands called Haven. As the sub-title on the first page states, in this issue “we pause for a moment to catch our breath, gird our heart, and take a last look at a relatively peaceful Farm, before plunging headlong into the chaos of total war.” A war that has been long in the planning, this being issue 70, we are most likely nearing the end…

This “moments pause” deals primarily with the romance that has been developing between Rose Red and Little Boy Blue. Sure, we also get some action pertaining to the possible relocation of unhappy Farm fables to Haven, but all of that plays second fiddle to the former Red/Blue sub-plot turned main plot. Boy Blue wakes one morning and suddenly decides that today, he will tell Rose how he really feels. Most of his animal fable companions respond with a resounding gasp of relief, wondering aloud why it took him so damn long! Blue declares ignorance, but seeks to remedy the situation post haste. When the moment to reveal his intentions finally arrives, Boy discovers that he has acted too late. Rose Red has moved on, informing him that her feelings have long since passed from the romantic to the fraternal. Blue is crushed. He lashes out immaturely and storms off in an emo-centric huff. Later, Blue seeks solace from his friend and commander, Bigby (The Big Bad Wolf) and his wife, Snow White. White echoes the chorus, “Well, if you had only told her sooner…” and Bigby does the expected guy thing. He pats him on the back with a “Tough break, Kid.”

And so ends the first chapter of this love story… oh, I’m positive there will be an Act 2 and 3. Willingham is a crafty storyteller, and based on his obvious love for Boy Blue, one can easily assume that this is not the end for Red and Blue.

Jack of Fables #20

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Jack of Fables is the story of… Jack, of Fables. Jack is the guy all guys wish they could be… even those guys that vehemently deny it. Jack is the guy without conscience. The comic, Jack of Fables, began as a spin-off from the main Fables title with Willingham writing it as well. It has gone on to develop its own complex mythology and in my opinion, surpassed its predecessor in many respects. Jack is just more fun than Fables. Whereas Fables takes itself completely serious, Jack breaks the 4th wall with every issue. The next issue captions on the last page of each book always consist of Jack speaking directly to us, the audience, and spinning tall tale after tall tale. In this issue, with the help of his quirky companions, including Humpty Dumpty and Babe the blue ox, he finally gets his heart’s desire: to be filthy, filthy rich. He also fulfills another months long quest… the bedding of all three Page sisters. It’s a long and sordid tale, and for those that haven’t been following Jack, I don’t want to ruin it for you, but the encounter ends with Jack getting his sack kicked in by a very angry Miss Page and further along, getting pushed into a deep crevasse by the same. Jack is a wonderful and funny read and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves to see the bad guy win sometimes, but mostly lose. And yes, Jack is surely the villain in his own story.

read/RANT

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One thought on “Review: Fables and Jack of Fables

  1. Pingback: Billy Z’s Top 10 Monthlies! « read/RANT!

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