Just finished volume 17 of the Fables trade collections. I thought the Mister Dark storyline was almost as good as the first major story arc about the Adversary. Since I’m just about caught up now I get to look forward to having to wait, just like other long-term fans, for new issues and new collections to come out. The only bit of Fables I didn’t actually like was the cross-over with the spinoff Jack of Fables series concerning “The Literals” which while maybe an interesting concept completely disrupted the balance of power that has always been part of Fables stories. That is, Bill Willingham throws all of these mythic creatures together and then builds stories out of their meshing and messy interactions. There is always the possibility that one or the other will win; that they could even die. That just didn’t happen for me in the stories with the Literals — the plot concerns a seemingly all powerful “author” of the universe. He clearly was never going to win as that would have destroyed the entirely of the series. Which takes a lot of the tension of the scenario away. I was very glad it was only a few issues before it was over and done with. I’m hoping to get ahold of the volume 18 which just came out this year; I’m guessing it will be mostly about the ongoing story of the new North King but I guess you never know — this book has plenty of surprises in it all the time.
July 2014 Update: Re-reading Volume 18 again and just finished Volume 19 which tie up together pretty dramatically. Looking forward to picking up Volume 20!
September 2014 Update: Read Volume 20 which is pretty good although more of a beginning stretch of story than immediate pay-off. The notion of exploring the Arthurian legends seems like a good place to go forward for the Fables universe.
July 2015 Update: Reading collections of the Fairest spin-off series which follows the woman characters in the Fables universe. I’ve read Fairest Vol. 1: Wide Awake, Fairest Vol. 2: Hidden Kingdom, and Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja. I still have to go out and find Fairest Vol. 4: Of Men and Mice and Fairest Vol. 5: Clamor for the Glamor. I also still need to read the stand-alone graphic novel Fairest In All the Land.
September 2015 Update: Read Fairest Vol. 4: Of Men and Mice. So far these have been great stories.
October 2015 Update: Read Fairest Vol. 5 and the last two volumes of the main Fables saga: 21: Happily Ever After and 22: Farewell. All good things must end and in contrast to the never-ending Walking Dead, Fables tries to go out on top with a strong story. The feral Bigby and the war between sisters Red Rose and Snow White is certainly high stakes enough to be an exciting finish to this consistently great comic. I’ve enjoyed just about everything with Fables — good story, lots of fun, meta-like reinterpretation of legends and myth, fascinating characters and now a very nice conclusion.