Fables is an ongoing series from Vertigo Comics.

It's partially about sullying renowned fairy tale characters, by setting them in our modern world - Manhattan, to be more accurate.

It's also about the evasive meaning of these ancient stories.

Doesn't Prince Charming from the stories of Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seem like the same person to you? Do you feel like you know a mischievous wise guy like Jack of the Beanstalk?

Fables has sex, misdeeds, fighting and bravery. It's witty and original, and it keeps the old fairy tale magic going.

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Graphic Novel Review

Vertigo's Fables 1: Legends in Exile
Modern Manhattan... Ancient Fables

Graphic Novel Review , 24 August 2008 by Eilonvi

Imagine the much familiar fairy tale characters, somehow living here, in our world of the 21st century. Fables is all about taking these characters and misplacing them in modern reality. Have you ever wondered what REALLY happened with Snow White and the seven dwarves, and was happily-ever-after ever really ever-after?

In the first volume of Fables, we are introduced to the secret community of the fables. They live in New York just like other regular people, whom the fable folk nick-named 'the mundanes'. The fables escaped into our world from a fierce enemy they call 'the adversary', and their most fundamental law is that they cannot reveal their magical nature to the mundanes.

The secret community is run by King Cole and his loyal deputies: Snow White and Bigby Wolf. Yes, you got it right; BIGBY Wolf stands for Big Bad Wolf, in his enchanted human form now, and much reformed from past predatory behavior. Bigby appears to be serving the fable law, as a rugged detective and sheriff of Fabletown. He's also a heavy chain smoker - it's a noir-detective thing.

Snow and Bigby have their hands full investigating the bloody disappearance of Rose Red, Snow's sister. The two sisters have been much estranged since Rose slept with Snow's husband back in the homlands (Prince Charming!).

But hey - wasn't Snow an only child? I was pretty sure that the original tale clearly stated 'only child'; a quick google search though, came up with a less familiar tale of Snow White and Rose Red . The latter tale had been integrated into our modern comic-fable here.

The plot stretches throughout the five issues included in the first volume, until the mystery is conveniently solved by our brilliant duo detectives. We also get to meet many other famous fables, such as notorious Bluebeard, Jack of the Beanstalk, Puffed-house Piggy, Beauty and Lord Beast, and last but not least - Prince Charming; these days mostly charming mundane girls into his bed, or theirs, cause he's broke, and his own bed is not presentable.

There's also an extra treat at the end of this comic book: an original new fable, describing how Snow and Wolf met, hundreds of years ago back in the magical homelands of the fables, how they became friends, rather than predator and lunch, and how they traveled into our world using an enchanted portal.

I liked the concept of taking the spotless fables, and throwing them into the filth of the "real" world (as real as it gets in comics that is). Though, building up my expectations that way, I did expect a slightly darker story; but since this is an introductory volume, I guess the story will build up as it continues in next volumes.

The included cover art is interesting, and has the weird quality of dreams; I can't really describe it otherwise. It reminded me of some old storybooks I used to have as a child, which back then scared me enough to stay awake.

Besides the cover art, the frames are very detailed and easy to follow. At first, the drawings may seem like traditional comics drawings, pencil-like with thin inking. But as I read along, I learned to appreciate their clarity, accuracy, and how the little details build up the magical atmosphere inside the mundane world. Though not flashy nor glossy, the coloring is amazingly elaborate, and significantly adds to the volume and credibility of the images.

I really loved how Bigby Wolf was portrayed - kinda sexy to my opinion. I guess it's the bad wolf part that did the trick.

Fables 1: Legends in Exile
Fables 1: Legends in Exile
Comics Info

Volume 1 collects issues 1-5 of the series.
Published: 2002
Language: English
Publisher: Vertigo
Free issue on DC Comics
Pages: 128
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Lan Medina
Inker: Steve Leiahola, Craig Hamilton
Colorist: Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover: James Jean, Alex Malev

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