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Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover Paperback – February 9, 2010

3.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The appeal of Fables has always been the reimagining of fairy tale characters as if they were as messy and screwed up as real people; the characters are divorcées, drunks, womanizers, and overall flawed beings. In this crossover of all the Fables characters from various spinoff books, Kevin Thorn, the creator of the world and its stories, is angry such liberties were taken with his characters and is determined to destroy the Fablesverse and start over. The regular Fables cast, Snow White, Bigby Wolf, and Jack (the one with the beanstalk)—with a few additions such as gun-toting embodiments of the library sciences and Thorn's son, Mister Revise—try to stop Thorn before he writes them and the rest of the world out of existence. Unfortunately, most of what could be good ideas becomes burdensome, with zigzagging plot twists that bog down the pace. There are a lot of meanwhiles, and interesting side points and characters, but the overall plot is lacking. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Taking a breather from Fables’ main action, Willingham teams with fellow scripter Matthew Sturges for this story that occupied three monthly installments each of Fables, Jack of Fables, and The Literals, which was created for the occasion. It’s a frayed, comics-medium in-jokey yarn centered on a comics author (one of the Literals) determined to rewrite the Fables’ history, deleting characters he dislikes with a pen that makes what he writes real (at least in the world of comics). His straitjacketed twin, Writer’s Block, prevents him from whole-hog renovation but not from thwarting the posse after him by recasting its leader, Bigby Wolf, as a chimp, a pink elephant, a donkey, and a little girl. Fortunately, Wolf’s personality remains constant and, with the help of the kick-ass librarian Page sisters (from Jack of Fables), prevails. Meanwhile, when Jack drops in on the Fables’ Adirondacks farm, he’s hailed as the messianic second coming of the martyred Boy Blue; as Daffy Duck, whose Duck Amuck is surely one inspiration for this arc, might say—what a revoltin’ development! --Ray Olson

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Printing edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401225721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401225728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Theseus on February 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I adore the Fables series and love spending time with these characters, with this writer, and with the talented crew of artists.

But...I just barely tolerated this story arc.

This is a long-winded and tiresome series of books. The tone isn't wry. It is leaden. Lots of flat jokes.

The basic idea is that Jack wanders back into the world of the New York fables as things are turned upside down by the Literals. The Literals are characters -- Writer's Block, Pathetic Fallacy, etc. -- that personify the writing process. (There's a character named Humor who looks like Groucho Marx and who runs around holding a rubber chicken. Because that's how you personify the prose genre of Humor. No kidding.)

I'd be fine with the temporary insertion of allegorical characters if that yielded something vital about the nature of the Fables universe. Or if they pushed the stories forward of the Farm Fables or of the ex-Manhattan Fables. Instead, the whole thing struck me as being a hot mess. A very long hot mess. A hot mess with limited character development. A hot mess with a lot of half-baked meta-comics ideas.

The art is still great!

Now if you love the character of Jack of Fables, you'll probably enjoy this. This principally a Jack story (with some nice moments for Rose Red and Stinky.)

I figure you can skip this thing and move on with the Fables series without losing a whole lot. Do you really need another crossover?
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Format: Paperback
This attractively priced trade paperback collects all nine issues of "The Great Fables Crossover" that was originally published in single comic book form between May and July 2009. The story involved three titles: the acclaimed "Fables" title, its spinoff "Jack of Fables", plus a three-issue miniseries "The Literals". I enjoyed the first four trade paperbacks in this series but started to lose interest by the sixth volume. DC/Vertigo's promotion of this crossover inspired me to revisit this series by buying these individual issues as they were released. Those unfamiliar with the Fables universe should read reviews of these first few TPBs for an introduction.
The crossover centers on Kevin Thorn, an omnipotent writer who can destroy and recreate the universe simply by writing in his special book with his special pen. Besides familiar Fables like Snow White, Bigby Wolf, Jack and Rose Red (plus dozens of anthropomorphic animals and household items), a new race of beings appear - the Literals. These include the Genres, physical manifestations like "Science Fiction", "Western" and "Comedy" that aid Thorn with his re-creation. Jack has learned of Thorn's threat, and returns to the Farm with the news, where he is met by his long lost son. A band of Fables led by Snow White and Bigby then pursue Thorn and his Genres to prevent the imminent apocalypse.
Willingham smashes the fourth wall so much that it becomes tiresome. Much is made of Jack leaving his eponymous spin-off for the original title, and the disappointing narrative is overwhelmed by its self-referential metafiction. At least the artwork is strong as in the rest of the series, and Amazon's price of $12.25 for 224 pages seems like a great deal, less than half of the original $2.99/issue cover price. Hardcore fans of the series will probably enjoy this volume, but as a casual fan I was disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
The Great Fables Crossover spans three titles- Fables, Jack of Fables, and The Literals (a mini series released to complete the crossover)- so it is indeed a Crossover. It does star Fables (perennial favorites Bigby and Snow are more at the forefront here than they have been recently). But I'd hesitate to call it Great.

To summarize where we are at the start of this (minor spoilers to follow)- the characters of both ongoing books have been ousted from their homes- Jack and co. from Golden Boughs, destroyed in the battle with Bookburner, and the Fables are up at the Farm following the collapse of the Woodland building by Mr. Dark's evil magics. Kevin Thorne, a longtime background character in the Fables book, was revealed to be one of the Literals- embodiments of literary devises- and an important one at that, the embodiment of storytelling itself. He's decided his creations- the Fables/the universe?- has gotten out of control and he's going to end it all and start over. The crossover begins with Jack calling the Fables for help, and they dispatch Snow and Bigby to head out west and investigate Jack's claims. When they arrive Jack leaves in a huff and heads to the Farm (and the main Fables book), leaving Snow and Bigby (and the Jack of Fables supporting cast) to deal with the Literals.

This swapping is probably my favorite element of the crossover. Snow and Bigby are out of their element in Jack's book, and Jack's been apart from the main Fables for so long that there are a lot of interesting character beats to be found.
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I've been a fan of "Fables" since issue #1, but this is a complete waste of time. Go from Volume 12 directly into Volume 14 "Witches". NOTHING in this crossover tale has any impact on the overall Fables storyline, so you won't be missing anything. The "big bad" is a Literal who can erase the universe with a sentence. (Literals are human characterizations of literary terms like "revision", "writer's block", and "deus ex machina" - and yes, its as stupid as it sounds. The Endless they ain't.) With an Adversary so omnipotent, of course you have to make up reasons why he just doesn't destroy everything on the first page - and its all nonsense and explosions from there.
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