Review: Fables, Vol. 6 – Homelands; by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands (Fables, #6)Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this volume collects 3 different threads, woven somewhat together for us.

1) Jack left Fabletown in an earlier volume, here we see him go to Hollywood and make it big in the movies, with stolen wealth from his fellow fables. He’s tracked down by Beast, the new Sheriff, and allowed to escape, but never to return to Fabletown. I believe this sets up the whole spin-off series Jack of Fables, which Willingham also writes. This Jack isn’t a minor screw up like the previous volumes show, this shows him being pretty savvy, and just a bit of an egomaniac. I will be interested to see his solo adventures.

2)Boy Blue took off with the magic cloak and sword, and makes his way through the original Homelands, on a personal quest for numerous reasons. Along the way we have many revelations, as well as finally, the Adversary himself! I won’t give it away, but it’s a great idea in many ways, taken sort of from another famous story…at least interpreted similarly. It’s explained very well too, and helps set up the Adversary as how he started innocently enough, yet slipped into full out evil monster by the end.

3)Mowgli arrives back in Fabletown, he was away, as a traveller of the world (a spy for Fabletown and Bigby) when he returns, we see that his best friend Bagheera the Panther is still locked up from his role in the attempted coup at the Farm. Mayor Prince Charming offers Mowgli a deal: go find Bigby and bring him back to Fabletown, because Bigby is the only one who can lead the Fables into war against the Adversary.

So I liked this volume a lot; no Snow White, not tons of fables, no Bigby was a downside, but his mere mention holds power over the book, so I don’t worry that he’s not going to be back. Beast and Charming have done pretty well taking over from Bigby and Cole, who we also don’t see.

I liked it a lot, and at this point I’ve just come to enjoy it altogether the whole series. In some ways it takes from Hellboy by updating myth/fable/etc. into reality, but not nearly as Gothic or Dark.

That being said, Boy Blue really makes a name for himself, and I’m looking forward to more Mowgli adventures.

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Review: Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons; by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons (Fables, #5)Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Volume 5 picks up in the aftermath of the invasion of Fabletown. This collection ushers in a great deal of changes, but first we discover a secret agent that Bigby has working, and how ruthless the big bad mofo will be to protect everyone else.
We then get a fun mini interlude, featuring Mr. Wolf during WWII as a spy, fighting the Nazis and a certain famous monster…who went to pieces.

The election results usher in changes, as Snow gives birth to about 6 babies, only to discover a major obstacle between her and Bigby being able to raise their family together.

We also have a number of main characters leave town, which shakes up the status quo…

We end with a few revelations, the most major being the introduction of a certain character’s father, and grandfather of others….

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Review: Hellboy Vol. 7 – The Troll Witch & Others; by Mike Mignola

Hellboy, Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and Others (Hellboy, #7)Hellboy, Vol. 7: The Troll Witch and Others by Mike Mignola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am reading my way through a bunch of classic modern books thanks to my library (transmetropolitan, preacher, the boys, scalped, fables, and of course, this one) and so I get sometimes inundated with too many good books at once. Or at least they should be good.

Hellboy is something all of itself…it really is like a modern day Grimm or Aesop fables, set up by Mike Mignola. Every time I think ok, I know what the series is, so there’s no need to keep reading, the obsessive completist in me forces myself to read…yet, every time I am still transported to another place, mystical, gothic, macabre, and just plain weird.

Mignola does it so well it becomes easy to take for granted just how great this stuff is. I felt like skipping this volume, but just read it instead, and just wow. Even though you sorta know what to expect, it never bores or disappoints.

I suppose that puts him amongst the greats, like Brubaker, Aaron, Ellis, Snyder, and so forth.

I think it’s high praise when even though you know what is. On the way, it still manages to surprise and delight…

If you haven’t already….get into Hellboy now! (Anne and Kat especially, this means you girls)

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Review: Fables Vol. 4 – March of the Wooden Soldiers, by Bill Willingham

Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, #4)Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, so it’s been a bit of a gap since I read Vol. 3, but this was a very solid book, and marks the point at which we go dark and gritty (not in the stupid DC way though).

Upheaval is in motion in Fabletown: Prince Charming, after dispatching Bluebeard, is ready to make a run for Mayor, and control. We get a history lesson from Boy Blue about the last days of the resistance against the Adversary. (Actually a pretty cool story, featuring an appearance from Robin Hood and some others, and also showing Red Riding Hood, who I had mistakenly assumed was Rose Red, Snow White’s sister…turns out they’re 2 different women!).
There’s also an invasion, through Canada of all places (which has a gate leading to the old lands), and Bigby Wolf goes all Wolverine on it (I think it was intentional, and if not, well then, good job anyhow. I liked it).

Wolf and Snow’s relationship develops, and we get to see him…Hulk Up for lack of a better term. We also see Boy Blue show some mettle, espionage, and the death of a poor boy. The invasion is from the Wooden Soldiers, who we discover come from the same source as a boy with a long nose…

There’s some pretty solid stuff here, good storytelling and world building, and I like where they’ve left it, with Fabletown pulling together as one, working and proving they’re a pretty smart bunch of folks, even when it costs them some of their friends.

There’s also a fantastic line, from one of the main Wooden Soldiers, where he expresses his desire “To go forth and bust off caps” or something to that effect…it’s quite funny, like a British stuffy person trying to talk Gangsta.

Either way, a very solid volume.

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