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Review: Fables — Legends in Exile

Fables: Legends in Exile is the first comic in the Fables series by Bill Willingham. I thought this comic was a great summer read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes revisionist fairy tales or intelligently-written comics.

The premise of the series is that characters from familiar fairy tales and stories have been forced to enter the real world in secret after their Homelands were taken over by the still unexplained Adversary. This book focuses on Snow White and Bigby Wolf as they try to solve the murder of Snow White’s sister, Rose Red. Without spoiling the ending, I’ll just say that all the clues you need to figure it out are available in the book, and Bigby Wolf’s explanation at the end made me feel pretty silly for not figuring it out earlier.

My favorite part of this comic was the way Willingham made us take a new look at our old fairy tales. The choice to make Prince Charming, our fairy tale hero, into a womanizing playboy, is particularly funny. Willingham also does a good job of using this comic to introduce the Fables’ world and how they ended up in our world without being drawn out or boring like background information can sometimes be.

The illustrations in this comic are beautiful, the story keeps you coming back for more, and it intelligently asks readers to rethink what they have always believed about fairy tale characters. I definitely recommend it.

Also, tangentially related, I’m tired of using the phrase “graphic novel,” so I am now going to just call them comic books. It may sound less serious, but I’m just not a fan of “graphic novel.” I’ve gone and changed all of my “graphic novel” tags to “comic books” to make myself happy too.

Links to Enjoy:

Other Reviews: That’s the book!; Bold. Blue. Adventure.; Book Zombie; Henwen

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kim L July 10, 2008, 11:44 pm

    Thanks for mentioning my review! I liked this one a lot. And when I talk to some of my friends who read graphic novels look at me funny when I call them graphic novels. “They’re comic books!”

    PS I just took a closer look at the title of your blog and realized it was “Sophisticated Dorkiness”, not “Sophisticated Darkness” as I had thought at first. 🙂

  • Kim July 12, 2008, 2:34 am

    Kim L.: Have you read any of the next ones in the series yet?

  • Kim L July 14, 2008, 12:15 pm

    I’ve read the second book in the series, Animal Farm, but so far that’s it. I have to see if they have any more at the library.

  • Joanne October 5, 2008, 3:47 am

    Prince Charming is hilarious and I love how Bigby (the big bad wolf) is so mysterious and melancholy. Thanks for taking a look at my review, I’ve added a link to yours 🙂

  • Kim October 5, 2008, 6:29 pm

    Joanne – Yes, I forgot about Bigby, he’s great too. I forgot about this series until I read your review, but it inspired me to request the nest one from my library. I’m looking forward to it!

  • eilonvi August 25, 2009, 2:22 pm

    Hey Kim!

    I loved your review – and your blog in general.

    I’d be pleased if we exchange links of the “Legends in Exile” review. Here’s my review: