Comic Review: Fables (Issues 1-5)

I love these kind of stories: mythology, fairy tales, urban legends, and all that stuff, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve thumbed through the pages of the trades.  Heck someone even recommended it to me once during my longing stare at the shelves of comics and graphic novels back when Borders was still a thing. But I just couldn’t get past the paper.

Yes, you read that right. The paper is why I kept reshelving volume one. It felt like newspaper, and I hate that texture seeing as for some reason it makes me hyper aware of the possibility of paper cuts. I wish I knew why; it makes little to no sense. But I just couldn’t do it.  At least not until now, when I finally have the smooth screen of a handy dandy Kindle to keep those chilling thoughts away.

With the addition of Once Upon A Time to my TV viewing lineup, I was reminded of Fables once more while watching these fairy tale characters in the modern world.  The basic idea is similar, but with the first volume down I don’t yet feel like these stories are too similar to keep separate, or that they’re competing with each other, especially since Fables seems to be a little darker as it starts with a murder mystery.

Volume one introduces the reader to this community of characters living among the regular mundies of the world, and the choice to do a murder mystery with plenty of suspects is definitely a great way to introduce a large number of characters, avoiding the choice of origin stories for now.  Not that origin stories are a bad thing, and I hope that in the future we get an even closer look at the world they left behind and the events that lead to this mass exodus.  But for now, allowing the reader to catch up to the world through reading a current timeline story instead of building a deep backstory is definitely the way to go.

Another deterring factor all those years ago was Lan Medina’s art style, but I finally decided to look past it during a Fables sale through Comixology.  I’m still not a major fan of the lack of depth through crosshatching or color shading, but I was able to appreciate it because it does fit well with the story thanks it looks dated.  That may sound like an insult, but it compliments the world of fairy tales; these stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.  It gives the pages a feel of history.

I still have to get used to Belle being a blonde, but overall I was really happy with this first chunk of Fables, especially thanks to these new representations of classic characters.  And that pig…  He had nothing to do with the story, really, but he kept appearing in random panels, furthering this idea of oddities occurring right under our noses.  My guess, with a title like Animal Farm, he may get his time to shine in the next handful of issues.  If Sheriff Wolf can get him to go back to the farm, that is.

Final Grade:  B+     


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