Collects Fables 1-5.

Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton
Publisher: Vertigo

A group of fairy tale characters live in the real world, New York to be precise. They have their own little community and don’t want to interact much with the humans, or mundies as they are called. In fact, their most important rule is to keep the existence of fables a secret from humans. If a fable can’t keep a human appearance, he or she is sent to the Farm, a closed community in the countryside, where the non-human fables, like mice, geese, dragons etc. live. The city community is called Fabletown and it’s run by Snow White and the town’s sheriff is the Big Bad Wolf, except that he’s in a human form and supposedly reformed. Snow’s sister is Rose Red and she’s apparently been murdered. Rose’s boyfriend Jack (of various stories) comes to Bigby Wolf and says that he found Rose’s apartment full of blood and trashed. Bigby starts to investigate and Snow becomes quickly involved.

Right from the start, we are introduced to various familiar characters, such as Beauty and the Beast, Prince Charming, Cinderella, and Bluebeard. Most of them have twists, such as Snow being the responsible and rather humorless administrator and Bigby the sheriff. I rather enjoyed most of the characters, and they are going to get more interesting and enjoyable in later volumes. The fables have been driven from their own lands by the Adversary and his armies. We get a couple of peeks to the fight against his horde.

The mystery plot is actually pretty predictable and seems to be mostly just an excuse to go around town and introduce us to the cast. I enjoyed it the first time I read it but now it seems quite simple. Still, this first story arc was good enough to make me read quite a bit further into the series.

I really enjoyed the various side characters, such as the talking pigs and poor Flycatcher the janitor who was the frog prince. It’s fun to track down the references. Also, Prince Charming is quite a character in this series and one of those whom I enjoy reading about but wouldn’t necessarily enjoy his company. The sex scenes might put off some readers but they’re quite effective in establishing his character. Oh, and I really love the moody covers.