Old King Cole and Snow White are the head honchos of Fabletown, an underground society of fairy-tale beings ("Fables") who relocate to New York City when driven out of their homeland of legend by the Adversary. Many manage to pass as human with spells and contrivances; those who cannot must live on a farm upstate. This series saga twists and turns unpredictably--and often disturbingly--around characters' tropes. Cole and Snow's right-hand man is the Fabletown sheriff, the Big Bad Wolf, now reformed as a Humphrey Bogart type under the name of Bigby Wolf. Bigby is in love with Snow, and the emotional tension between them underlies the overall plot through the ninth volume. Finally in Wolves , their romance becomes mutual, and a satisfyingly fairy-tale (literally) wedding ends the book. The unnumbered 1001 Nights prequel fills in backstories during the time of Adversary attacks, starting when Snow visits the Arabian Fables to gain a defense alliance. Unexpectedly, she is forced into the Scheherazade role, which serves as a frame for tales about Snow's past and the trials of other Fables characters. All story arcs and tales in this series are inventive, edgy, sometimes amusing, and--with nudity, sexual subthemes, and strong language--distinctly not for children. For example, the Seven Dwarves are revealed as rapist goblins, not Disney darlings, and Snow takes her bloody revenge. While the art is uneven--a number of artists have collaborated with Willingham--the series has won numerous Eisner Awards and is recommended for adult collections for wonderfully skilled plotting and characterizations.--M.C.[Page 75]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 10 Up-- Willingham continues the devilishly twisted, wonderfully imagined tales of Fabletown in the eighth volume of this Eisner Award-winning series. Fabletown is a small village hidden in contemporary upstate New York where real-life versions of fairy-tale characters live out their lives. This book opens with Mowgli tracking down the exiled Bigby (the Big Bad Wolf) through the frozen territories of Russia and the deep forests of Alaska. Once found, he is offered a deal. In exchange for completing two dangerous tasks revolving around an impending war with the power-hungry puppet maker, Gepetto, Bigby will earn a reprieve. He will finally be allowed to move to the outskirts of Fabletown and live with his beloved Snow White and their young child. Much of this volume focuses on closing old plot threads and creating new ones for future issues. But Willingham does a solid job of explaining the background quickly, and the focus on Bigby's redemption creates a strong enough story line that it's still enjoyable for readers new to the series. The artwork blends realistic figures with slight touches of cartoony flash in the background. It works well with the mix of fantasy and realism in the story. While not as dark or as overtly postmodern as Neil Gaiman's The Sandman (DC Comics), this series holds much the same appeal to smart teens who enjoy quirky, inventive stories capable of breathing new life into the genre of fantasy and the form of the comic book.--Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA[Page 128]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.