There's a lot going on in this collection. Too much, if -- like me -- you're only following the Willlingham-penned works. A lot of what was happening made the bare minimum of sense and I didn't find any of the tie-ins to the other story arcs especially interesting. I see this as the first disappointing offering in the Fables mythology.
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I love FABLES, but this volume was dreadful. It was an exercise in writing gone wrong. There was nothing mind boggling, and the stories with Literals were rather annoying. I saw the Literals as a bad version of Gaiman's Endless. Too much talk, and little substance. Speaking as an artist, some of the artwork was truly horrible.. Saying that, there were funny and charming moments in the story. SPOILER ALERT!!! I loved that Bigby was forced to change shape, until he found the will to stay true to himself. I love that Sam pitched Hansel off a cliff. I love Rose Red's stinky depression. I love Jack Frost... SPOILER ENDS!!! Despite all those moments, the story was tiresome, especially coming after the wrenching "The Dark Ages".
Bottom line: I would not want to read this volume again.
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First thing I couldn't help but notice was that a-zon dot com has an average rating of three for this and that means there must be quite a few unhappy reviews out there. I won't read any until I'm done my own review, but what can I say. I love Fables! I guess I'm a pushover and not that hard to please because I thought this issue was great; the only storyline I don't like is the one of Rose Red. Otherwise, this volume felt special and the balloons on the cover really worked with the celebration it felt like with the combination of Fables and Jack of Fables together in one volume. This book contains 9 issues: 3 each of Fables, Jack of Fables, and a mini-series titled The Literals.
So here we have the "bad guy" from Jack of Fables reaching his ultimate point and the entire book focuses on the fight of the Fables and the Literals joining together to hopefully defeat him. We are briefly reminded of the Dark Man occupying the ruins of Fableland at the very beginning but otherwise that storyline is set aside for the one involving The Literals. It was pretty much a "day in the life of" for the Fables and when vol. 14 continues the plot will pick up where it left off. This is a whole different story for Jack of Fables though. The story that has been working up in the previous 6 volumes is culminated here, so it is essential that Jack of Fables readers read this volume whether they regularly read the original Fables books or not. Without giving any plot away, I'm excited about the direction the new Jack of Fables will take. The new Jack is a very promising character, the story could go in any direction, but enough old characters have been left in play that we'll still see familiar faces.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
WeakFeb. 25 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
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?
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
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.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
More for fans of Jack of Fables than Fables fansJuly 6 2010
Tyler R Ward
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
I'm not a big fan of the Literals themselves- I've never really loved the idea, and this storyline has been building in Jack of Fables for a really long time (and, in my mind, knocking a lot of the fun out of that book , somewhere around the Americana story, as the Literals came more and more to the forefront of the action). The biggest problem with this crossover is that it's really a Jack of Fables story and not a Fables story at all. It's fun to watch Jack wreck a bit of mayhem at the farm, but there's very little advancement to any of the Fables plot lines or characters- the exceptions being some more development of Stinky the Badger and his obsession with Blue's return and a bit more seeding of Grimble being a more important member of Fabletown- that's it. Everything else remains pretty status quo from the end of the last volume. Conversely, the Jack of Fables book is in a completely different place (one I'm more excited to read about than I have in some time).
A word on the art- all very strong. Mark Buckingham draws four of the nine chapters, and Jack of Fables artists Tony Akins and Russ Braun split the rest. Mark Buckingham remains a genius and the other artists' styles aren't too divergent to be distracting.
All in all, this is a pretty good volume of Jack of Fables and a sub-par volume of Fables. If you've been following Jack of Fables, you'll want to pick this up. If you're a Fables fan who dislikes the Jack book, you may want to consider skipping this. The 3.5 out of 5 stars it has now is an accurate assessment.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Series is Great - But not the "Crossover"Feb. 15 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Uncharacteristically weakJan. 13 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Short and sweet: you can skip this one. It's total filler and does little to propel existing story arcs forward; really frustrating from that perspective. It is well written and there are some funny bits, but this book is nothing substantial compared to everything else in the series.