Sunday, April 29, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Title:  Fables:  Legends in Exile

Author:  Bill Willingham

Artist: Lan Medina

Genre: Fantasy / Supernatural / Suspense / Crime

Year Published: 2002

Year Read: 2012

Series: Fables #1

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Strong Language and Gory Violence)

Characters of Fairy Tale land, meet the crew from CSI!

At least, the plot of this volume seems like something you would see out of an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation!” 

Brief Introduction:

After I have been hearing so many good things about the “Fable” series, I just had to check this series out for myself!  So, I picked up the first volume of “Fables” called “Fables: Legends in Exile” and I must admit that this volume did have me interested in reading more from the “Fables” series, so we will have to see what will happen next in the fantastic “Fables” series!

What is the story?

In Fabletown, where all the fairy tale characters lived alongside normal human beings in New York, a murder case is afoot when Snow White’s sister, Rose Red is brutally murdered and only Bigby, a detective formally known as the Big Bad Wolf, is on the case to find her murderer!

What I loved about this comic:

Fairy tales, Fairy tales, Fairy tales and Bill Willingham’s writing!: If there is one thing I love so much about reading books, is that I have the opportunity to read about fairy tales!  I just love reading about fairy tales and folktales in general and after I heard about a comic book series that was going to dedicate most of their characters to famous fairy tale characters such as Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf and Bluebeard, I just had to pick this series up to see for myself!  I loved the way that Bill Willingham made the fairy tale characters adapt to the modern day world of New York City and I especially loved seeing the fairy tale characters take on jobs in the real world that you would never expect them to do such as the Big Bad Wolf being a detective or Snow White working as the mayor’s deputy, which the mayor happens to be Old King Cole!  I also loved the way that Bill Willingham set up the crime scenes in this book as it helped create a sort of suspense to the story and the plot is set up where readers have to find the clues to the murder of Rose Red either through the clues set up in the story or through the Big Bad Wolf who is on the case!

The artwork:  Lan Medina’s drawing of the characters is so brilliantly done as all the characters look extremely realistic and sort of echo the comics that you would normally see in detective comics.  I also loved the coloring done by Sherilyn van Valkenburgh as the colorings in the artwork made the artwork truly effective, especially when there were moments where the characters were in dark areas and the colors just darken to reflect the nighttime during those scenes.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

The reason why I gave this volume a four star rating was because I felt that the story dragged on a bit too long in some scenes and I was wishing that there was more action in the story.  Also, there were several mentions in this volume about why the fairy tale characters ended up in New York since they were exiled from their homeland by an evil being called the Adversary and I wanted to know more about the Adversary and how the fairy tale characters will get their homeland back. I will admit, it was a little jarring to suddenly be thrown into a murder case without really getting to know the characters first, but I guess we might learn more about the characters in the future, so we will have to see.  Also, for anyone who does not like strong language, this volume has got plenty of strong language that you cannot even imagine, even though I am used to this kind of strong language after reading Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Fables: Legends in Exile” is a good start to learning more about the fairy tale characters that were introduced in this volume and hopefully, the other volumes after wards would explain more about the Adversary and how the fairy tale characters will get their homeland back.  Now, I am definitely looking forward to reading the next volumes in this series!


* Winner: 2003 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story



  1. Okay so this is strange. I've heard good things and you give it a good review so I have to confess that after reading your review I am less interested in reading it. That's a good thing, really. You tell me more than most and told me enough to know that, in spite of the allure the idea of the series has for me, that is not enough to assure my personal appreciation. So thank you for the review. (You know, you should put an invisible thank you on the end of all of your reviews from me. I always read and always appreciate. I just don't always have or make time to write out what I'm thinking.)

    1. Thanks Satia!! I'm glad you liked my reviews and yes, I will put a thank you to you every time you post a comment on my reviews! :D