Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fables: The Dark Ages, a Review

After finishing the first 75 issues, I recommended the series to many different people. (See "Comics You (Really) Should Read [Part 2]")  It told an epic story, crossing through familiar folklore territory but adding new twists and turns. I had planned on stopping with #75, but something just kept pulling me back, beckoning me to pick up and read what happened next. My resolve eventually broke and I did, requesting that the library order a copy. Soon it was in and I had a new graphic comic collection to read.

Fables: The Dark Ages collects issues #76-82 of the series. The story begins right after the events that spanned issue #1-75 come to a close. Fabletown's newest citizen is given a tour of his new home, and many fables aren't too keen to have him among them. A new antagonist, Mister Dark, appears starting in #77, and he threatens to destroy Fabletown and its inhabitants. Will the fables survive?

It was nice to be immersed back in the world Bill Willingham imagined. As always, the various artists do beautiful panels and covers, changing styles frequently between issues. The way a character looks may even change between issues (compare Pinocchio or Bigby from #76 and #80), and I really enjoy the artistic freedom given. Sadly, the trade paperback does not offer the glossy finish a comic page carries, nor does it truly display the beauty of each individual cover. That's not to say that the collection isn't beautiful, because it is, but it's just not as pretty.

Plot-wise, Willingham doesn't give the fables much time to rest. They've been through a terrible ordeal with the Adversary, and now that that's over, they get thrown into something else that may make the Adversary look like a cute kitten. Mister Dark is a wicked creature, hellbent on destruction and revenge. For what wrongs, we're unsure, but he intends to make them right, no matter the cost. The pacing of the plot was never dull, and Willingham masterfully plays with our emotions.

Overall, it was fun being back in the Fables universe. I didn't realize how much I'd missed these characters until I went through The Dark Ages, and now I'm going to have to do some heavy comic reading to catch back up. If you've read the first 75 issues of this series, then I can easily recommend this collection to you. Conversely, I wouldn't start with this one or you may be lost.

8 comments:

Bill said...

Dang, when I first saw the post heading I thought you'd gotten a new copy of the game Fable. :P

logankstewart said...

Ah, many an hour spent skipping class for that one. Good times.

Okie said...

I really need to get back to this series. I really enjoyed the beginning and keep intending to following on.

logankstewart said...

'Tis a good one to read. I own vols. 1-11, but the library has the newest two and #14 on order! Jack of Fables is also a nice spin-off series.

Kailana said...

I love this series! Unfortunately I am all caught up in it, though, and have to keep waiting for the next book. :(

logankstewart said...

@Kaliana: Me too. It's fantastic, and I'm finally caught up to purchase the monthly issues now! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

chasingbawa said...

I haven't read this series but it looks SO interesting, especially if you're interested in folktales. It's on my wishlist and I hope I can read it soon!

logankstewart said...

@Chasingbawa: Yes, this series is awesome, especially for the folktales, which was a big attraction for me in the first place. I strongly recommend this series and Sandman to any and everybody with an interest in lore and myth. Thanks for stopping by my blog!