Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile [Graphic Novel Review]

Genre: Fantasy – Urban Fantasy – Graphic Novel
Publisher: Vertigo

After the Adversary attacks various realms, those living there flee, and find themselves in a world without magic. They keep themselves hidden, living alongside the ‘mundanes’, and working together to keep some sort of unity among each other. Snow White acts as the mayor’s assistant, essentially running things for the Fables, and when her sister goes missing, she works with the Big Bad Wolf (now in human form) to find her before it’s too late.

This is a graphic novel I really enjoyed. It feels familiar to Once Upon a Time, and I think the pair have been compared in the past, but the elements they share could also be extended to something like The 10th Kingdom, and whereas OUaT is focused on the Disney version of these characters, Fables is more about the original versions. There’s no wicked stepmothers in these pages, but instead sly princes and cunning farm-boys, the murderous Bluebeard and a greedy pig.

The twists in these characters work really well, as we see some strive to get as far away from their past lives as possible, while others seem all too willing to embrace it to the full. Snow and her prince are no longer together, while Beauty and the Beast are having marital problems.

Graphic Novels often feel like they have less time to get readers invested than prose. They have to be much tighter, and usually have little – if any – room for really getting inside the character’s heads. But Fables really works well in making us care about the kind of characters we assume we know well. As we’re introduced to them, we make assumptions, but the art and writing are quick to trip us up and ensure we know they really are different.

The artwork is great, engaging, and the kind you can really take your time over, noticing the small details. The plot weaves together well, keeping the reader guessing right up until the end, and the characters and their interactions with one another really keep you hooked.

If you’re a fan of graphic novels and enjoy fairy tales with a twist, likelihood is you may have already read Fables, as I am typically behind on things like this. But if not, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

Rating: 5 Stars

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