Sunday, January 29, 2012

GN Review -- Fables: The Great Fables Crossover / Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, & Mark Buckingham

What happens when all of reality is threatened by a bored immortal with the power to re-imagine all of existence?  According to the story in Fables: the Great Fables Crossover, you send Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf after him.

The story begins with a call from Jack of the Tales, a shady, roguish character, who tells Snow White about the existence of Kevin Thorne, a Literal who has become bored and disillusioned with the universe as it is and desires to rewrite all of reality.  Skeptical of Jack's word, but unable to ignore a potential threat this big, Snow and her husband Bigby (the Big Bad Wolf) leave the Fables' farm and head out into the real world to hear Jack's claim and track down and stop Thorne.  Jack, becoming bored with the Fables and enraged by the thanks they're showing him, heads back to the Farm to visit his old girlfriend, Snow's sister, Rose Red.

The quest to find and fight Thorne is of course harder than expected, as Thorne gets wind of their intentions and begins subverting reality to stop them.  Unable to currently write properly because of a persistent case of writer's block, he calls on help from the various story Genres and muses to provide inspiration and to hold off Snow, Bigby and Revise.  Jack, meanwhile, returns to the Farm, where he wreaks a minor amount of havoc, immediately bedding Rose Red, setting himself up as the reincarnation of Boy Blue for the Farm animals to worship, and teaching Snow and Bigby's kids how to gamble.

While I like the overall concept of this story, the execution leaves a few elements to be desired.  I understand the very idea of the Literals in this story will automatically make room for a certain amount of self reference in the narrative, but at times it felt a little too gimmicky and just distracted from the narrative.  I also felt Thorne's powers as a Literal were inconsistent, particularly the point at which he toys with Bigby.  He could change Bigby's shape at will, but couldn't write a sentence that drops a car on him to kill him?  There's some glossover explanation about Bigby and the other Fables having power of their own, but it seems too easy and weak an answer to someone who can literally rewrite reality, even if he has writer's block.

Art-wise, I was moderately impressed, but still left feeling there could have been more here.  I suppose the line work and coloring just felt flat throughout the story, even if it was drawn well enough.  With a story that encompasses so many characters in so many forms on such a paramount quest, it felt like their should be more depth and grandeur to the artwork.  I realize this was just another story in a long run of the series for the creators, but the crossover nature of it raises the idea that this could have been more special.

Overall, I consider this particular title to be okay.  It's not particularly impressive to me personally, though it's made me curious enough about some of the characters to give some of the earlier stories a look at some point.  Those with an interest in fairy tale reinterpretations and metaphysical quandaries in the writing or creation of mythologies might enjoy this story.  Recommended, with some reservations.

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