Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Great Fables Crossover
Fables collection #13
By Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, Mark Buckingham

This was released way back in February, but since most of my reading material comes from the library at which I work I got to wait a long time for it to come in.  Our processing department tends to be a bit slow at things that aren’t blockbuster releases.

Fables debuted from Vertigo Comics back in 2002.  The premise of the series is that fairy tale characters (such as leading lady Snow White) do exist, and live among us.  They didn’t start out in our world (referred to as the Mundy), but are refuges from an inter-world war where the Evil Emperor went on a conquering binge a la Alexander the Great but with goblins.  The exiles, known as Fables, set up two settlements in our world: Fabletown, in New York City, and the Farm, in Upstate New York.  Human looking Fables (or those who can afford to buy a glamour) live and work in Fabletown, while the Three Little Pigs and their ilk live on the Farm.  One of Fabletown’s highest priorities is to not alert the Mundies (average humans) to their existence.

Once Upon a Time there was a Fable living in Fabletown that went by the name of Jack Horner.  He was also Jack the Giant Killer, Jack Frost, and every Jack there ever was.  Being an obnoxious fellow with no respect for authority, he left Fabletown and started his own comic book series, Jack of Fables.  Crazy and utterly ridiculous things happened, and I stopped reading around the second collection.  Not because it was bad, mind you, just not to my taste and not really at all like the original Fables.

The Great Fables Crossover collects Fables #83-85, Jack of Fables #33-35 and The Literals (a new spin off?) #1-3.  This collection has far more to do with the ongoing Jack of Fables storyline than it does the Fables story arc.  Like I said above, I stopped reading in collection #2, so I was slightly lost.  However, keeping all of that in mind, the writers managed to bring me up to speed in good order.  I was able to figure out what was going on, who the villain was, and what the goal was without needing to know any of the back-story.

So, the gist of this collection is that a guy by the name of Kevin Thorne is the creator of the universe, via his magic pen.  But his family (the Pathetic Fallacy, Mr. Revise, the Page Sisters (who are kick ass!)) have nudged him aside for the past few centuries and started rewriting things to their own liking.  Thorne, upon coming back into his own, is now out to destroy the world and start anew, not liking the edits his family has done.  Jack (bizarrely, a long lost relative of Throne’s) calls up the Farm to warn them and get some help.  Snow White and her husband Bigby Wolf set off to see what Jack’s up to this time.  But Jack can’t stand to share the spotlight, most especially with Bigby, so he trots off back to Farm (and comics bearing the name Fables) leaving Bigby to star in Jack of Fables for a few issues.  Sheer, utter, unapologetic and self aware shenanigans ensue.  There really is no other way to describe it.

In short, this was entertaining, but not in the way Fables usually is.  Again, this is a much more Jack-type story, except even more over the top than I remember them being.  Perhaps they’ve gotten more ridiculous with time.  It doesn’t make me want to read more of Jack of Fables, and now I have to wait till November (or later), when the next Fables collection comes out to see what’s really happening in that story arc.


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