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Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol. 1 Paperback – May 22, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 530 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This elaborate fantasy series begins as a whodunit, but quickly unfurls into a much larger story about Fabletown, a place where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers. Years ago, fables and fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella "were a thousand separate kingdoms spread over a hundred magic worlds," until they were invaded and driven into hiding and, eventually, into modern-day Gotham. And so, on the city streets we find Beauty and the Beast in trouble with the law and Prince Charming reduced to a broke cad auctioning off his royal title, while his ex-wife, Snow White, rules over the de facto kingdom the fables created. When Snow White's sister, Rose Red, disappears from a blood-soaked apartment, the Wolf, reformed and now the kingdom's house detective, is assigned to the case. Willingham uses the Wolf's investigation to introduce readers to Fabletown's dissolute, hard-luck inhabitants, and he is at his best here, relishing one-liners and spinning funky background information of a world where fairy tale characters spend their time fretting about money and thinking up get-rich schemes. The mystery seems mostly an excuse to delineate Willingham's world, as the caper is easily resolved-in true fairy tale fashion-during a massive ballroom celebration. Willingham's dialogue is humorous, his characterizations are sharp and his plot encompasses a tremendous amount of information with no strain at all. The art, mostly by Medina and Leialoha, is well drawn and serviceable, if somewhat unremarkable, with occasional flares of decorative invention. But it's Willingham's script that carries the tale.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Once upon a time--recently--Jack, not that much older looking than when he climbed the beanstalk, rushes breathlessly into the office of Woodland Luxury Apartments security chief Bigby Wolf to report that his girlfriend Red Rose's Village pad is awash with blood and she is missing. That gives Wolf a case to investigate--a rare occurrence during the centuries that he and other refugees from Fableland have lived in their Manhattan colony since being harried from their world. Of course, Wolf has to put up with his boss, Snow White, long divorced from Prince Charming, dogging his heels because, after all, Rose is her sister. The mystery is solved in a classic Agatha Christie-ish parlor-room confab, displaced to King Cole's penthouse, but not before milking gallons of good entertainment from the conceit of fairy-tale characters as fully human and full of human weaknesses, prominently including lust. Willingham caps the dashingly drawn mainstream-comics-style graphic novel with a prose-only story that accounts for how Wolf got his job. Great fun. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; New edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140123755X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401237554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua D. Nelson on August 7, 2006
Format: Comic
i first read this collection a few months ago. i was delighted that willingham had this amazing idea...but the problem seems to be in execution for the first book...the story is kind of like a pulpy detective series...even down to a parlour scene in which the hero explains how he solved the crime...the reason i've only given it 3 stars and that i say it's a good start is because:

a) it is in fact enjoyable...

b) i've caught up and read the rest (and they get better each volume)

c) i want you to read it.

stepping away from this book for a moment, this series is entirely worthy of your time and money if you ever enjoyed fairy tales...willingham masterfully takes what were once 2 dimensional characters and gives them personality...the problem is that you can't (or shouldn't) read the story without starting here...i highly recommend the series, but this is the worst book in it...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It pains me to say this being a HUGE Fables fan but this stand-alone graphic novel "Werevolves of the Heartland" may be the single worst entry in the ENTIRE Fables canon. It's THAT weak. The concept is interesting enough: Bigby Wolf encounters a sleepy, Normal Rockwellesque little hamlet in the Midwest populated by werevolves who worship him as a God and have a mysterious connection to his past.

When I first read that tagline I thought "Sweet"! But then I got the book and that's where the hijinks ended and my tears began. The writing is mediocre...huge chunks of the story are told in blocky, awkward narration. "Show, Don't Tell" is apparently a technique this writer never learned in Generic Writing School. The entire first fourth of the book is basically a retelling, almost page by page, of a story we have ALREADY read before in the main Fables story. If this had been a monthly it would mean that basically the first issue would have been a retread. I would have seen red if I had bought it.

The story is riddled with plot holes. One of the key characters regenerates after being burnt to a crisp because of his werewolf blood...but later in the book it's shown that actually werewolves are terrified of fire because it's one of the few things that can hurt them! Say what? What an amateurish mistake.

Bigby meets an old friend, who confesses to terrible, savage crimes and he just shrugs it off as if it was no big deal. This character's wife by the way, is an old enemy of Bigby which he despised deeply...but apparently he's forgotten all about it since it's never mentioned again. The depiction of this couple's first meetings and eventual joining together to create a werewolf town are so terribly written you will struggle not to laugh.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big enough fan to own all the Fables graphic novels so I just automatically preordered this one. Well, it was a Bigby the wolf solo story according to the cover and the blurb and that was enough for me to feel it was worth the money. Whoops, big mistake on my part. The first problem is the artwork, the series regular cover and interior artists are missing and it makes everything seem off. None of the characters carry the weight they generally do so all the story beats you would recognize from the other books are missing visually and the art is a bit weak.

The blame can't land on the artist alone though. The story is very weak, there's really not anything else to find out other than what you see on the cover. Bigby runs into a bunch of other wolves that seem similar to him and he has to fight them.... and there is a blonde to protect. It sounds throwaway and derivative because it is, there's no sense of reason or consequence to anything and I could not find anything to care about. For a series fan, this should be as much of a slamdunk as finding a 4th Eastwood / Leone western, but it's just stale rote.

In short, the story forms a thin grasping link between Bigby's WW2 adventure that acts as the precursor to a town full of werewolves that are related to him. They've been doing their thing in the heart of America for a few decades without any clear plan or purpose other than to be waiting around for Bigby to wander by so he can kill most of them and lament the poorer choices others with some of his abilities and none of his strengths have made before wandering off again. The whole thing is like an unfinished sentence, a half formed idea or partially remembered dream....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I usually catch up with the adventures of our beloved Fables when the individual issues are collected into volumes, when I got this in the mail today (literally about an hour prior to writing this review) I immediately sat down to read it. After all, important stuff happens in this volume.

Where to begin? First we've got the problem of Mister Dark, the embodiment of everything you are & should be afraid of. He's preparing himself for something sinister, something that will undoubtedly effect not only the fables but mankind in general. If that's not bad enough, the tensions on the Farm are rising. Totenkinder has run the witches of the 13th floor for years, but now she's got competition for her leadership in the form of Ozma. Things aren't going all that well for Bufkin either- he's trapped in the remnants of Fabletown's office with a whole host of newly released monsters- including a powerful djinn & a very, VERY mad Baba Yaga. Meanwhile in Flycatcher's kingdom there's trouble as well. A drunk goblin has eaten one of the other citizens of the kingdom. The other goblins are threatening to revolt if the offender is put to death, but pardoning the gob's crimes might be just as bad.

This volume is awesome. Not only does it have the reappearance of several people and items mentioned in past volumes, but the artwork is as stunning as is par for the course in this series. Oh, and you get to see how Bufkin reacts in an emergency situation. It doesn't get much better than that. (Until the next volume, anyway.) Also cool is that this volume draws upon the whole Rose Red situation, emphasizing the showdown between good & evil that's undoubtedly coming in the next volume.

If you've been collecting the series so far, you absolutely cannot miss out on this volume. I have to admit, I was a little suspicious about what would happen after the fall of the Empire, but this current story is awesome & is a nice change after the previous Jack-centric volume.
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