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Fables: Witches

Title: Fables Vol. 14: Witches

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo 2010

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Pages: 192

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fables Series; A to Z – W; My Years – 2011; Support Your Local Library

While the meek and mild flying monkey Bufkin is trapped in Fabletown’s collapsed business office with the evil witch Baba Yaga, Frau Totenkinder and the witches at the Farm upstate prepare to deal with Mister Dark down in what’s left of Fabletown.
Loving this turn of events…  We see more of Mr. Dark, his building empire, and the plans being made to stop him.  I love the changes to Frau Totenkinder.  She’s always been one of my favorite characters.  And now we get an introduction to Ozma.  Very interesting turn, indeed!  Plus we finally see more interactions in Haven.  I’m loving Ambrose, but he really needs to wake up and notice Ride.  I feel the big showdown approaching, but it will probably be drawn out for at least two more volumes.  I’m okay with that.  I love this series so much.
As a side note,  I caught a wonderful little comment alluding to the novel Peter and Max.  Nicely done!

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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Fables: Sons of Empire, The Good Prince, and War and Pieces

I read these three volumes back to back, so I decided to just do a combined review.

  

Title: Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire; Vol 10: The Good Prince; Vol. 11 War and Pieces

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo 2007; 2008; 2008

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Pages: 200; 240; 192

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fables Series

Collecting FABLES #52-59! Pinocchio suffers seriously divided loyalties between his father, the evil Adversary, and his fellow Fable refugees in New York. Plus, Bigby Wolf reluctantly decides it’s finally time to square accounts with his long-estranged father, the North Wind, and makes a journey with Snow White and their kids to find him.
Collecting issues #60-69 of the hit series, collecting the epochal “Good Prince” storyline. Flycatcher is drawn into the spotlight as he discovers the startling truth about his own past as the Frog Prince. At the same time, he learns that the Adversary plans to destroy his foes once and for all. How can the meek Flycatcher stop this deadly foe?
The final battle between the free Fables of the mundane world and the Empire occupying their former Homelands is about to begin, and the scrappy storybook heroes have already managed to even the odds considerably. With his previously unstoppable wooden soldiers neutralized, the Adversary is about to get his first taste of high technology in the form of steel-jacketed bullets and laser-guided bombs. But the ruler who conquered a hundred different worlds didn’t do it by fighting clean—and he’s still got a surprise or two left to spring on the residents of Fabletown.
I continue to devour these volumes, much as Bigby devours a huge store of meat.  I love the story lines.  Willingham has taken all the old fairy tales and put his own spin on them.  I love the characters.  Blue has become a recent favorite, but I continue to love Cinderella and Flycatcher and Snow White and Bigby, and really of them.  I love the paintings. Each cell is intricately drawn.  But also we get panels along the top and sides.  Very intriguing and eye-catching.  I am very happy with how they handled the war with the Adversary.  There were enough twists and twins in there to keep me engaged throughout.  I love the strategies each side tried to varying successes.  The only thing I am sad about is the loss of Prince Charming.  He was such a fun character!  I hope he’s not permanently lost.
This series has officially become an epic.  And now it’s come to an end.  Well, not really.  The war has come ot an end by there are many stories left to tell.  Unfortunately I again have to wait for the library for the next volume.  I’m hoping they get it marked for holds on Tuesday so I can pick it up on my lunch hour.  But I have to restrain myself and keep some of the already published volumes for my Fables Reading Challenge for next year.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

Title: Peter and Max: A Fables Novel

Author: Bill Willingham and Steve Leialoha

Publisher: Vertigo 2009

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 400

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fables

How I Got It: borrowed from library

Set in the imaginative realm of the award-winning comic book series FABLES, the book takes place long ago, in the deepest dark of The Black Forest. Two brothers — Peter Piper and his older brother Max — encounter ominous forces that change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day, when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern day Fabletown.

PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL features the prose of award-winning comic book writer Bill Willingham and the lush ink drawings of FABLES artist Steve Leialoha. The novel also reveals secrets of some of the regular FABLES series cast members including Bigby Wolf, Frau Totenkinder and Bo Peep. Also included is an 8-page sequential story by Willingham and Leialoha that serves as a bridge to the FABLES titles.

So excited about this story!  Throughout the entire novel, I had this image of sitting in front of fire listening to a storyteller tell a tale.  The writing throughout felt like a conversations.  it didn’t have stilted descriptions or unrealistic dialogue.  I enjoy the style so much I kept stopping to wonder how Willingham can write like this.  I want to write like this.  It seemed so effortless.

In regards to the story itself, I loved how Willingham weaves all the Peter stories into one seamless tale.  We see Peter and Max both in the Homelands and on the outskirts of the Farm.  We get appearances by many other Fables throughout.  My favorites still has to be Frau Totenkinder (or the Witch of the Black Forest or whatever name she happens to go by).  I loved that the story was associated with the comic series, but not dependent on reading the Fables series to enjoy the book.  Overall a hit!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham


Title:
Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo 2008

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Pages: 144

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; Fables Series

How I Got It: borrowed from library

A volume full of backstories about the fairy- and folktale characters who figure in the hit comic book Fables gets the kind of classy treatment success merits. Every story in it is drawn by a different artist who shows off his or her distinctiveness in manners ranging from traditional comics realism and photo-based naturalism to Maxfield Parrish-Howard Pyle sumptuousness and a panoply of caricatural styles.

I absolutely loved this volume.  Another Fables volume lives up to the promise of a great story.  All the backstories were entertaining.  Variations on the fairy tales of yore.  We start with Snow White becoming Scheherazade on a mission to secure the Sultan’s alliance against the Adversary.  Very nicely woven as the background to the other tales.  The real Scheherazade even makes an appearance.  Then we get stories involving Snow and PC and the dwarves, Reynard the fox, the Frog Prince, Bigby, an unlucky rabbit general, Snow and Rose Red and Frau Totenkinder (with appearances from other Fables), a mermaid, and King Cole.  Each story flows into the next with crossover events and characters.  Throughout we see the real history of the Fables before they escaped to NYC.  Very entertaining to hear of the origins.  I think my favorite was Frau Totenkinder’s story.  The evil witch isn’t all she seems.  She’s become one of my favorite characters in the entire series.  And of course, the artwork was amazing.  Each illustrator had their own style, but remained true to the fairy tale magic throughout.  Great side volume for the Fables series!

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham


Title:
 Fables: The Mean Seasons (Vol. 5)

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo 2005

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fairy Tales

Pages: 168

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; Fables Challenge

How I Got It: borrowed from library

The title story here depicts the year after the attack from the Adversary. Summer sees the birth of Deputy Mayor Snow White’s sextuplets (the father is Sheriff Bigby Wolf); fall, Prince Charming’s election as mayor; winter, bad decisions by the new administration; and spring, plans to counterattack the Adversary. Two shorter pieces show Bigby Wolf on a secret mission during World War II and Cinderella entrapping a Fable who is collaborating with the Adversary. Tony Akins draws the shorter stories with less detail than Mark Buckingham does the big one; both uphold Fables‘ snappy good looks. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Loving this volume.  We get to see Cinderella as something more than a vapid princess.  And we get a little bit of Bigby’s history.  He is fast becoming my favorite character in the series.  As much as I enjoyed the two shorter stories, I must say they don’t hold a candle to the long story.  The setup is perfect.  We see the changing tide through the changing of the seasons.  Very inventive!  And we get to meet a few new characters, especially the interesting and mysterious Mr. North.  I can’t wait to learn more about him.  We also get more mysteries as Beast and Beauty take over for Snow and Bigby and Prince Charming becomes mayor.  They all find out that many things are not what they seem in Fabletown.  Oh yeah, and the return of Rose Red.  I thought her character had more potential than the rebel sister and she’s starting to show it.  Can’t wait for the next volume…

Fables:

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham


Title:
Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: Vertigo 2004

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Pages: 240

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; Fables Series

How I Got It: borrowed from library

Willingham’s happy idea of bringing the Fables–that is, the characters of Europe’s best-known fairy tales–to contemporary New York rolls merrily, dangerously along in two stories. The former, “The Last Castle,” guest-drawn by P. Craig Russell and Craig Hamilton, flashes back to the Fables’ last stand in their home world; echoing the Disney and John Wayne Alamo flicks and Peter Jackson’s Two Towers, it winningly introduces the long title story, in which Boy Blue reencounters the love he loses in “The Last Castle”–the grown-up Red Riding Hood. But is this the same Red? Reason for doubt precedes her in goblin sightings near a door between this and the Fables’ worlds–and goblins can only be harbingers of impending attack by the Adversary, who drove the Fables into exile. Meanwhile, what’s with these toughies in black suits who look like Pinocchio? Willingham never sacrifices a joke for the sake of a thrill, or vice versa, and artist Mark Buckingham continues matching Willingham joke for thrill, and vice versa. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

“The Last Castle” was a great account the last battle.  We finally get to know more about Boy Blue who has always been a background character until this point.  I loved the inclusion of Red Riding Hood and Robin of Loxley and the Crow Brothers.  And the story gives you som background leading to the main story…

“The March of the Wooden Soldiers.”  We finally get to see a battle between The Adversaries forces and the residents of Fabletown.  We all knew it was coming, it just took four volumes to get there.  The leadup and battle were artfully staged.  I especially loved the scenes with Pinocchio.  A very nice touch.  And we get to revisit some of the Fable Farm residents.  Plus Prince Charming redeems himself in battle, setting himself up to run for Mayor of Fabletown.

Overall, a very good volume.  Can’t wait to read the next installment.

Fables:

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham (Repost)

I am reposting my original review for Legends in Exile to count for my Fables Series Reading Challenge.  I reread the volume, but didn’t have anything to add to my review.

Title: Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love

Author: Bill Willingham

Publisher: DC Comics 2004

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Pages: 190

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library; April Read-a-Thon; Fables Series Challenge

How I Got It: borrowed from library

Definitely my favorite so far in the Fables series.  This series is really growing on me.  I just had to keep reading.  Since it’s a graphic novel, I read it in less than an hour.

The main story focused on the lingering problems of an unrequited love of Bigby to Snow, a fugitive Goldilocks, a poor Prince Charming, and a devious Bluebeard.  I loved how they resolved (at least temporarily) some of the storylines set up in Volume 1.  We also meet Briar Rose, second wife to Prince Charming (turns out Cinderella, who we met in Volume 1, was wife #3).  And we encounter the mounted police made up of Fable rats and Lilliputians (you know, from Gulliver’s Travels).

Beyond the main story, we got a story of Jack set in the Civil War, a two-parter concerning a nosey reporter, and the story of the Barleycorn vase.  All three were entertaining, but the Jack story was my favorite.  With an appearance and then disappearance of Death, Jack showed just how morally ambiguous he really is.  I imagine this will come up later in the series.

Fables:

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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