Fables: The Good Prince (Volume 10) – A Graphic Novel Review

The Good Prince-a more appropriate title for a book has never existed.  Fables is, far and away, the best comic book series running at the moment.  The Good Prince comprises issues 60-69 of the title, and having read the entire run thus far, I can attest that Fables just keeps getting better and better.

In The Good Prince, Flycatcher takes hold of his lineage and accepts his true name of Prince Ambrose once more.  While Fabletown and the Homelands continue to plan and engage war with one another, Prince Ambrose offers a third refuge, one without violence or political espionage. 

Prince Ambrose is given the armor of the Foresworn Knight who turns out to be a rather famous figure from our favorite legend.  He then uses that armor, as well as a certain well-known sword, to travel through the land of the dead and take up uninvited residence in the Homelands.  Prince Ambrose collects friends and foes who were tossed down the Witching Well while making his way through the land of the dead and offers them a sort of pseudo-life as long as they remain just and true.  For friends, this is not a problem; for foes, well, let’s say that some struggle at being “good” more than others.  But set up his kingdom, and it grows and grows, despite constant attacks from the Adversary.

What I really love about The Good Prince is that Prince Ambrose refuses to kill.  He wants no bloodshed from either his own startup kingdom or the Adversary’s armies.  He is resolute, but he is also noble, kind, virtuous, and admirable.  In today’s comics, we don’t see that very often.

A wonderful subplot in The Good Prince is also the political maneuvering between Fabletown and the Homelands.  Fabletown takes full advantage of Prince Ambrose’s distracting the Adversary and whittling down his armies to prepare an army of their own, one which may be quite capable of making sure all Fables can return to their own homes-not just Prince Ambrose’s kingdom-anew.

Fables is such an imaginative concept, but Bill Willingham really goes above and beyond with intricate plots and charismatic characterizations.  I’ve loved Fables for years now, and I don’t see any signs that Fables will lose my love anytime soon.

Fables: The Mean Seasons – A Graphic Novel Review

Once again, I found out about the series Fables from the Eisner Awards list. I’ve yet to be disappointed by my buys from the winners of the Eisner Awards, and Fables is no different.

First of all, let me catch you up to speed. Fables is about a community of exiled Fables who have taken up residence both in New York City and in the upstate New York countryside. Some of them have been there since the colonial days of America. Now, I can hear your first question: What do you mean “exiled Fables?”

We’re talking Snow White, Prince Charming, Little Boy Blue, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, among many, many others. Some evil being called “The Adversary” has taken over all of these characters’ homelands, and so they had to flee to our world in order to escape his mastery. The human looking Fables live in Fabletown, their little neighborhood in NYC that goes unnoticed by the “mundies,” or regular humans. The non-human looking Fables, such as the three little pigs, the three bears, and so on, all must live in the countryside at a community they call The Farm.

I’ve enjoyed all the trade paperbacks from this series, but I most recently read The Mean Seasons, the fifth book in the series. In it, Prince Charming has made a bid to run for Mayor of Fabletown, hoping to remove King Cole from office. Snow White gives birth to a litter of the Big Bad Wolf’s (called Bigby, who is able to take human form) children, and we get to go on a secret mission of Bigby’s during WWII where he fights someone all old horror movies fans will take delight in. As usual, this series is well written with very efficient art. The most amazing part of this series is how credible the writer, Bill Willingham, has made all of these Fables with their day-to-day lives. As you can imagine, the allusions are non-stop, and I must admit I can’t keep up with the majority of them.

If I had heard the pitch for this series in a meeting, I would have passed. But, Willingham as made it work exceptionally. I highly recommend checking it out.

You really need to read them in order to get the full effect. Here’s the list of trade paperbacks so far:

Volume One: Legends in Exile
Volume Two: Animal Farm
Volume Three: A Storybook Love
Volume Four: March of the Wooden Soldiers (very good!)
Volume Five: The Mean Seasons