Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Tony Akins and Jim Fern

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #8 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 126
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 8 is a compilation of issues 41-46 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
The newly dragonified Jack of Fables has finally found contentment in the form of a huge pile of gold upon which he can rest his enormous, scaly bulk. Contentment, however, never makes for an interesting story – which is why Jack isn’t the star of this exceptionally exciting collection.
Instead, his son Jack Frost takes center stage, traveling through a kaleidoscope of worlds in search of chivalric adventure and entry-level heroism. Along the way, his unique brand of open-hearted altruism will yield some cruelly valuable lessons regarding human nature – provided he can survive the endless waves of assassins that his efforts inevitably stir up.

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the increasingly insufferable Jack of Fables was totally absent from this volume of the series. This one is all about his son Jack Frost and his endeavors to become a hero. There are also occasional visits from Babe the Blue Ox and his remarkably hilarious fantasy life.

Jack Frost is determined to become a hero but he doesn’t think ahead very far before jumping in to help. His help has a tendency to be less than helpful. His sidekick Macduff the owl is a great character. He tries to rein Jack in but he’s not always successful.

This is the penultimate volume in the Jack of Fables spinoff from the main Fables series. They haven’t been nearly as good as the main series and I’m glad there’s only one more.

The artwork continues to vibrant and the story allows the artists to create some new and interesting settings. Some of it looks a little more science fiction that fantasy.

This one was actually OK but that was helped by the lack of Jack.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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Fables Vol. 14: Witches by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in 2016, 4.5 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 1 comment

Fables Vol. 14: Witches by Bill Willingham

Fables Vol. 14: Witches by Bill Willingham
With art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, David Lapham, Jim Fern, Andrew Pepoy, Craig Hamilton, and Daniel Green

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #14 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 184
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 14 is a compilation of issues 86-93 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Toil and Trouble
In the wreckage that was once Fabletown, the sinister Mister Dark is building a web of fear and anger that threatens to ensnare any Fable who strays too close. Cut off from the Woodland building’s business office and its trove of magical weapons, the exiled free Fables must now turn to their oldest and most powerful members–the witches and warlocks who once occupied the Woodland’s 13th floor–to defeat this latest adversary. But even those still trapped within the business office struggle against a legion of uncaged foes, rivalries within the Fables’ sorcerous community threaten to fracture their united front–and open them up to destruction.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this one a lot. It features some new characters but it also features quite a few characters that have been playing supporting roles in previous volumes.

The opening issue gives a bit of background on Mr. Dark and those who locked him away long ago.

After hearing for many issues about witches on the 13th floor it was fun to get to know them a little better. The power struggle within the group is a fun bit of politics and power play. Ozma looks like a young girl but has an ambitious streak and head for plotting that is far beyond the years of her appearance. It was wonderful to see Frau Totenkinder take the lead on an important mission and reveal some surprising things about herself.

I also enjoyed the story of Bufkin the flying monkey trapped in the ruins of the business office with his buddy Frankenstein’s head. The dangers buried deep beneath the ruined Woodlands building are not to be taken lightly but Bufkin manages to show that he’s more clever than he’s been credited.

The final issue took the story to Haven where the Frog Prince is ruling the kingdom. He’s determined to never harm anyone but when a murder is committed his resolution may be tested.

The art in this volume was wonderfully varied. The introduction of new characters and settings made for a wide variety of looks to the pages. While much of it was dark and ominous there was plenty of comic relief and fun in the artwork too.

I love this series and one of these days I’m going to need to buy my own copies so that I can reread it from the beginning

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Nutshell Review – Jack of Fables Vol. 7: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in 2.5 stars, 2015, Bill Willingham, Chris Roberson | 0 comments

Jack of Fables Vol. 7: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and Chris Roberson

Jack of Fables Vol. 7: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and Chris Roberson

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Series: #7 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 128
Source: Library


The Book:

This volume 7 is a compilation of issues 36-40 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

THE ETERNAL HERO

Following the world-shaking events of THE GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER, Jack of Fables isn’t feeling quite like his old self. He isn’t looking like it, either – it may be the extra 200 pounds, or the scaly skin, or the enormous tail, but something’s definitely different about this most immodest of storybook stars.
For a change, however, it isn’t all about him anymore (though he would certainly tell you different if he had the chance). Having recently saved our mundane world, Jack’s newly discovered son Jack Frost is poised to take the spotlight away from his old man – provided that he can survive his new career as a freelance do-gooder-for-hire.

My Thoughts:
I was a bit disappointed to discover that the Jack of Fables spinoff from the main Fablers series didn’t end with the Great Fables Crossover. It seemed to be a natural ending up until the point where Jack and his sidekick Gary The Pathetic Fallacy took off for further adventures. It seems that there are more of this spinoff series, therefore I continue.

This one had some good points and some bad. The bad is that Jack is still a jerk but the good is that karma seems to be slapping him upside the head.

The other good is that much of this book features Jack’s son (Jack Frost) who is much more interesting than his dad. When he relinquishes his powers and decides to become a hero for hire it looks like there’s potential. My favorite part is his newly found sidekick who happens to be a wooden owl he dubs Macduff.

My favorite characters in this series are Macduff the owl who his hilarious and Babe the Blue Ox who has a hilarious and vivid fantasy life.

As always the art by Tony Akins and Russ Braun is fun and colorful with some great visual humor tossed in here and there.

This spinoff is definitely a lesser companion to the main Fables series but there are only two more volumes and I’m a completist so I’ll read them. Fortunately they’re quick read and I love Babe the Blue Ox. I’m also hoping for more of Macduff the Owl.

2.5 stars Rating 2.5/5

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Nutshell Review: Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review | 1 comment

Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Mark Buckingham, Tony Akins, Russ Braun, Andrew Pepoy, Jose Marzan Jr., and Dan Green

Fables Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Series: #13 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 224
Source: Library


The Book:

This volume 13 is a compilation of issues Fables 83-85, Jack of Fables 33-35 and The Literals 1-3.
From the back cover:

WHEN FABLES COLLIDE

This is it — a story so grand, so epic in scale that no single series could contain it!

As the free Fables struggle to regroup following the destruction of their New York City stronghold, they are suddenly faced with a wholly new menace — one that threatens not only their adopted planet, but all of reality itself!

Against such a terrible power, can even the combined abilities of these legendary storybook heroes prevail? Only one thing is certain: once the battle is joined, the world of the Fables will never be the same!

My Thoughts:
I have been looking forward to the crossover volume ever since the Jack of Fables spinoff veered off from the main Fables storyline.

Combining three different comic series with three issues from each makes for a story that is a bit choppy but having read everything so far of both Fables and Jack of Fables in publication order it was easy enough for me to follow. I think that without reading both Fables and Jack of Fables to this point you might be lost. Even with that background the story bounces around a bit between the three series.

That really didn’t matter though because it was fun. Bigby Wolf being randomly ‘rewritten’ into different forms such as a pink circus elephant made me laugh. I loved that he spent about half of the book as a very angry little girl.

Babe the Blue Ox and his hilarious fantasy life is still my favorite.

The Page Sisters are my favorites of the Literals but it was fun to learn more about the rest of the literals in this volume.

I’m looking forward to continuing with all of the Fables and related books. Now that the final volume of the series has been published, I’m a little sad that the end is out there but I’m glad I still have a lot to read.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Audiobook – Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review | 2 comments

Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham, Narrated by Wil Wheaton

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 8 hours, 3 minutes
Read by: Wil Wheaton
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
The story of Peter Piper, his wife Bo Peep and Peter’s older brother Max in a prose novel spinoff from the Fables comic series.

Why I Read It:
Working my way through the Fables series made reading this inevitable.

The Book:
From the publisher:

When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.

My Thoughts:

Our tale, the one that couldn’t quite remain a simple love story, begins then in Fabletown and almost immediately moves up to the Farm. It happens because a witch learned something that she told to a beast, who phoned a wolf, who in turn called his wife’s twin sister, who never was a princess but perhaps should have been.

I had been worrying a bit about reading this standalone prose novel that is connected to the extensive Fables comic series by Bill Willingham. I was so used to experiencing his stories in comic format that I wasn’t sure how I would like this. The print edition has illustrations but they’re just scattered here and there in the novel. Then I discovered that not only was there an audio edition but that one of my favorite narrators, Will Wheaton did the narration. That made buying the audio an easy decision.

I’m so glad I made that decision. I’m not sure I would have liked this as much if I had read the print format. It’s a story that benefits from being told to the reader.

Wil Wheaton is a great narrator. With previous audiobooks I’ve listened to that he has narrated he hasn’t done much voice characterization. He surprised me be doing so with this book. Then I realized that his other audiobooks I’ve listened to have both been told by the main character so it makes sense that he’d narrate them as that character. Anyway, most of the voices in this one work well. I’m not sure I’m a fan of the way he does Bigby Wolf but the rest work well.

You don’t have to be familiar with the Fables comic series to appreciate this book. There’s enough of an introduction at the beginning to set the stage and world. If you like interesting reinventions and retellings of familiar fairy tales and legends I recommend listening to this one.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

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Nutshell Review – Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in 2015, 3 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Tony Akins and Russ Braun

Nutshell Review: Jack of Fables Vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Series: #6 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 128
Source: Library


The Book:

This volume 6 is a compilation of issues 28-32 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

GENERAL INSANITY

The mother of all battles is about to begin, and with the Bookburner dead set on wiping out all of Fablekind, the shock and awe promises to be brutal. The only thing that can save the Fables’ proverbial bacon is the greatest military mind that myth and magic have ever known – but it looks like they’ll have to settle for Jack of Fables instead.

Is making Jack Commander-in-Chief crazy enough to work? Will the carnage expose the dark tales that lie hidden in the heart of Fabledom? Will General Jack be too busy spending private time with the pulchritudinous Page sisters to notice? All we know is that secrets will be revealed, clothing will be removed, and stuff will get blowed up real good!

My Thoughts:
The closer this Fables spin-off series gets to merging back in with the next volume The Great Fables Crossover, the more I’m enjoying it.

This time around the expected showdown at the Golden Boughs Retirement Village is looming and Jack decided he is the best man to be in charge. His monstrous ego and total lack of understanding of what is really happening continues to both annoy and amuse me.

After the battle the surviving Literals and Fables gather to determine what is next. Jack is ready to let them contact the Fables in New York, thus setting up The Great Fables Crossover which will be the next book in the series for me.

The best part of this volume is the last few pages. There are some surprising secrets revealed which rock Jack’s world. It was overdue and made me laugh. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next and I’m glad the New York Fables will be involved and it won’t be all about Jack.

As always I enjoy the art by Tony Akins and Russ Braun. They manage to portray many different types of settings and characters along with some excellent action scenes.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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