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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mister Wolf on the case
This collects the first 5 issues of Bill Willingham's Fables comic. The run covers Bigby Wolf's investigation into the apparent killing of Rose Red in Fabletown - a community made up of refugees/exiles from the the lands of myth and fable. On paper the idea surely can't work but somehow it does by using characters that are imprinted on most children's consciousness from...
Published on 3 Aug 2003 by Michael Finn

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing.
I'm not aiming for an in-depth review here, I just wanted to share how I also was quite disappointed with this. I was really intrigued by the premise of traditional folklore characters living in a gritty city setting, and how this would be expressed in graphic novel form. I did think there were plenty of great character ideas, particularly the development (or breaking...
Published 24 months ago by Sophie L


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mister Wolf on the case, 3 Aug 2003
By 
Michael Finn (Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo) (Paperback)
This collects the first 5 issues of Bill Willingham's Fables comic. The run covers Bigby Wolf's investigation into the apparent killing of Rose Red in Fabletown - a community made up of refugees/exiles from the the lands of myth and fable. On paper the idea surely can't work but somehow it does by using characters that are imprinted on most children's consciousness from an early age. This is adult fare though even taking into account real fables propensity for the bloody and the macabre. It all fits together cleverly with a strange kind of natural symmetry. I n execution the comic walks the same paths of style as say Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen even down to the prose fairytale prequelling events at the back of the book, written and illustrated by Willingham. As with Moore's League it's all very much tongue in cheek. Bigby wolf is a good character noiring his way through the mystery complete with parlour denouement. Entertaining and well executed with some pretty neat art.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fables in hiding, 24 Mar 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo) (Paperback)
Imagine if all the legendary story characters were living secretly in New York -- and they weren't quite fairy tale material?

In short, Prince Charming is a thrice-divorced lech, the Big Bad Wolf is now a werewolf cop, Snow White is an embittered government manager, and some very peculiar other residents crashing in a modern city. "Fables Volume 1: Legends in Exile" does an excellent job smoothly introducing the world of Bill Willingham's series, even as he spins up a pretty solid little murder mystery.

The daily business of the hard-nosed Snow White (a Fable government official whom everyone comes to with complaints) is interrupted when Bigby Wolf brings her some ghastly news: her estranged, wild-child sister Rose Red has been murdered, and there's no sign of her except for buckets of blood all over her apartment. The most obvious suspect is Jack, whom Snow White helps interrogate when she isn't dealing with her womanizing, impoverished aristocrat ex, Prince Charming.

But some of the details about Rose Red's death don't add up -- and as Bigby investigates further into the people who knew her well, he begins finding aspects of her life hidden from everybody. Not to mention an irate fiancee who wants revenge on Jack. As the Remembrance Day approaches, Bigby puts together the clues to a very bizarre case where not everything is what it seems -- and not everyone is doing what they claim.

Bill Willingham is an expert in taking beloved characters from legends, fairy tales and nursery rhymes... and then turning our perceptions of them on their heads (example: Beast and Beauty's marital troubles cause his curse to reassert itself). He's also created a pretty unique fantasy concept -- the Fables and their magic have been driven out of their fantastical homeland, and live as secret refugees in the middle of New York City. It's actually a pretty cool idea.

If it were nothing but a "cool idea" gimmick, "Fables" might be a fun read but not a great one. However, Willingham has a knack for weaving together action-packed, gritty plots with a touch of sex, plenty of splattered gore, and plenty of quirky twists (Pinocchio is angry about being a "real boy" who never grows up). And even as he carefully introduces the characters and their situations, he also spins up a solid murder mystery that intertwines with the other subplots like ivy vines on a stone wall -- splatters of blood, a padlock, a strange betrothal contract, and a missing body all take part.

And Willingham's cast is as large as the number of beloved free-domain characters allows... well, at least the well-known ones. The inhabitants of fairy tales and folk legends loom especially large in the story -- the hard-nosed, no-nonsense Snow White; the bickering Beauty and her Beast hubby; the flirtatious much-married Prince Charming (who spends much of the story seducing waitresses and selling unusable property); the grizzled cop Bigby Wolf; supposedly reformed serial killer Bluebeard; a rather embittered Cinderella, and so on. Despite the vast cast of characters, Willingham juggles them adeptly and gives each character a distinct personality.

Bill Willingham started off the Fables series on a strong footing with "Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile," which combines a quirky fantasy concept with a solid murder mystery. Definitely a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time there was a comic and it was awesome., 27 April 2014
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I realise I am rather late to the Fables party, but am definitely glad I finally arrived. The simple premise of fairy tale creatures living amongst the 'mundies' in contemporary New York seems ripe for a kids book, however this is far from child's play. A dark and rich story of murder and intrigue unfolds within the beautiful artwork that has at once the feeling of classic illustrations and modern comic art at the same time. There are a few moments as the Big Bad Wolf prowls through his list of suspects where the story can be a little clunky, although I am convinced these teething issues will be ironed out in the future issues.
Overall this is a fantastic book, and hopefully series. I'll be sure to let you know soon.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good way of using fairy tales., 31 Jan 2004
This review is from: Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo) (Paperback)
I was fascinated when I first learned of the fact that most of the best-loved fairy tales had been rewritten so as not to shock the parents. This book brings back the edge and violence to those old stories, The Big Bad Wolf as the detective on a murder scene, Prince Charming as a sleazy opportunist. It's so refreshing to see the life and vigour once hidden behind the cuteness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time..., 18 Jan 2014
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Rose Red is dead - who killed her? It's up to Bigby Wolf, Fabletown's gumshoe, to track down the killer.

What I really like about the first volume of Fables is that it doesn't read like a first volume of a multi-volume series - it reads like a standalone book. I'm sure Rose Red plays a big part later on but this book is concerned more with the done-in-one murder mystery than it is in explicitly detailing to the reader all about the world of the series, etc.

The genius of this approach is that Bill Willingham introduces the cast of the series, gives us their characters and their situations within the self-contained story, so it manages to do everything a first volume should while also presenting itself as a standalone book, meaning everyone from casual readers looking for a good story to those who're in for the long haul can get something out of this first volume.

I'm not usually one for crime dramas/police procedurals, and the reveal at the end isn't at all original, but the story in this first volume is an entertaining whodunit thanks to its colourful cast. Our grizzled (and he is grizzled!) detective is Bigby Wolf (aka the Big Bad Wolf) who, along with Snow White, Deputy Mayor of Fablestown and sister of Rose Red, sets out to bring Rose's killer to justice.

Rather than meeting a series of nondescript characters during the investigation, you're introduced to someone you'll remember from your childhood in each scene - it's Beauty and the Beast! Is that... Bluebeard? Jack - like Jack and the Beanstalk? Willingham's taken their character and twisted it just so, so that they're familiar but new at the same time. We've seen it done numerous times before (probably most famously by the Shrek movies) but it works in this comic because of Willingham's strong characterisation and inspired writing.

Lan Medina's wonderful designs help in realising the characters. They look like you'd expect to a degree so they're recognisable when you first see them but have just enough nuance to them to make you look closer. I especially liked the jaded talking pig who returns from the farm to the city to crash on Bigby's couch - Bigby owes him after blowing his house down!

And when you're wondering how what when etc., Willingham provides just enough background information on how the Fables came to live in our world so that it's sufficient for readers to enjoy this book alone with room to explore it further in later books - again, ingenious! I'm sure some readers will feel the brief section on The Adversary wasn't enough but I'm also sure it's explored more in the dozens of other books that follow this.

It's taken me a while to get around to picking up Fables but I'm glad I did. It's enjoyable, original, and this first volume is a fine place to start giving the reader a good taste of what the series is about and a decent murder mystery too - I'm definitely on board for the second volume! If you've been putting it off because of the abundance of cheesy fairy tales with a 21st century post-modern take in pop culture, put those fears aside and give Fables a shot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever twist on well-known stories and a good beginning, 6 Jun 2011
By 
Katie Stevens "Ygraine" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo) (Paperback)
The characters from the fairy tales that we all know and love have been driven out of their fantasy world by a sinister unknown enemy. Unable to return to their homes, they are now living in modern day New York City where they try to blend in under the watchful eye of Snow White. Problems arise when Snow White's sister, Rose Red, goes missing and her aparetment is found covered in blood. While she works with Bigby Wolf to solve the mystery, Prince Charming is attempting to raffle off his kingdom in the old world to raise some much needed money, and evertyhing comes to a head at the traditional Remembrance Day ball.

This is a cleverly written book because, while it has a plot that is neatly tied up at the end, it also provides only tantalising hints into the wider story which surrounds the fairy tale characters. I want to know what exactly happened to their world which made them flee to ours, and how that is going to develop. I want to know more about the characters and their somewhat strained existence rubbing shoulders with ordinary humans. I want to find out more about their traditions and cultures and how their fary stories continue to be played out in the real world. In other words, it provided the perfect amount of story to engage and satisfy me if I only ever read Legends in Exile, but at the same time it guarantees that I'm going to want to carry on and read more of the series because I'm so fascinated with the world.

The concept is interesting (if a bit self-consciously silly at times) and it's much grittier than I had expected from a fairy tale adapt ation. I loved the little details that Willingham puts in about the characters: the Beast, for example, is only handsome as long as Beauty is happy in their marriage, so he keeps reverting to his beastlike appearance every time Beauty becomes annoyed with him (which happens quite frequently). The pictures aren't as pretty as I tend to favour, but I think they really suit the detective noir style of the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good comic, 10 July 2014
I went into this comic after playing the very well known Wolf Among Us Xbox 360 game.As the game
is based around the same characters and set in the same world I had known some of the back story before reading. . . Please keep in mind though that the game doesn't follow the comics, even though there are some similarities throughout. Legends In Exile features the first 5 comics in the Fables series.

I really loved the world that Bill Willingham created in this book. As a lover of all things fairy tale, it was
really fun to see what our beloved squeaky clean characters would be like in the real word. Where Prince Charming is a huge man whore, detective Snow White is a strong independent woman and The Big Bad Wolf is the law enforcer.

The illustrations in this comic were colour, they mostly consisted of dull soft tones with the occasional brighter shade. I felt that the art work at times did seem a little dated, but It definitely didn't take away from the story. The font that they used was okay and I thought the amount of text in the book was perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fables, 21 Jun 2014
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i bought this book as a gift for granddaughters husband so i can't comment oersonally but i know he was delighted with it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe I hadn't read this sooner, 25 April 2014
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An excellent series, and this is a great introduction to some of characters you already know from childhood, only they might not be exactly as you remember them!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 6 April 2014
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Absolutely brilliant! I'm not usually into comic books, but I was convinced and it's the best thing I've read in a while, will definitely be buying the rest!
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Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo)
Fables: Legends in Exile (Vertigo) by Bill Willingham (Paperback - 25 April 2003)
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