Rating: 4/5 – A Fables Prequel That Is a Great Jumping-On Point.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
With Bill Willingham’s Fables ending soon, I’m definitely feeling a sense of loss at the upcoming finale to one of my all-time favorite comic book series. It’s been a fantastic ride that has left a collection of rich stories and an enormous cast of wondrous characters. Where one door closes another soon opens, though, as Vertigo has decided to rewind the clock and take us back to the beginning with its debut Digital-First title, and prequel to the popular series, Fables: The Wolf Among us.
Co-written by Matthew Sturges and Dave Justus, the series focuses on a pre-Fables exploit of Bigby Wolf as Fabletown’s lone gumshoe. The story features the classic elements of a good detective tale, from the proverbial damsel in distress to the whodunit that is at the crux of every such story. It’s very much a throwback to the first Fables story arc, which was more murder mystery than anything else in the ensuing series. Sturges and Justus give Bigby a strong narration throughout that really gets you into his head, more so than at any other time that he’s been featured. It suggests, like the title, that this story will be more about getting to the root of the Bigby Wolf character than anything else that’s going on. Bigby is edgier and grittier than what has been presented in the core Fables book, but even there he’s never been the typical knight in shining armor. There is also a gratuitous use of expletives that is a departure from the series proper. This issue features three artists, which I don’t typically like on a single issue because sometimes I find the artistic change to be noticeable and distracting. To be fair, though, this issue collects the first three chapters of the digital title and they were not originally presented as a single issue. Steve Sadowski and Travis Moore bookend the issue with art that appropriately conveys the noir feel of the story. Shawn McManus’s art in the middle is more cartoony and captures the mood less so.
If you’ve ever been curious about Fables, but were intimidated by the high issue count and years of backstory, this is a great way to dip your toe into the world and give it a shot. It is extremely new reader friendly and quickly sets up the premise and players of the story. It’s a crime/mystery story, a character piece on a central figure in Fables mythos, and an overall solid start to the series. This isn’t the first time that the world of Fables has pushed beyond the core title, but it’s a welcome addition to the family.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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