Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Vertigo Comics (DC)
Willingham, Jimenez & Lanning
The spin-off series to the highly acclaimed Fables book launches this week with a bit of a bait-and-switch tactic. Having never read a Fables book I found the issue mostly accessible, but a little lost in some of the details that may or may not have originated in the main title. Overall, I found the issue to a fast-paced book with extremely snappy dialogue and terrific artwork. I can’t say this book “grabbed” me as much as I had assumed going in, but perhaps as the arc progresses I will come to understand more about what the buzz is for this mini universe.
The title and cover of the book speaks to the notion that this issue is about the ladies of the Fables universe. I assumed some familiar names (either from the original stories or the Disney-fication of them), such as Snow White, Cinderella and the like, would be the leads of the book. However, this book is really about a guy named Ali Baba. I can’t say I was too thrilled about this proposition.
Ali Baba frees an imp from a lamp in the opening sequence and the book mostly follows along as the pair get to know each other. The imp, Jonah, is extremely sarcastic and very obnoxious. He also seems to be well traveled and he appears to have the ability to understand the origin of events. Jonah decides he will help Ali, the Prince of Thieves, in his quest to steal.
The pair is pursued by a wooden man named Captain Oakheart. He apparently is after those that rob things, so naturally he trails Ali and his little buddy. In the end of the book we meet our first female character as the plots converge.
The book is a good read. It moves quickly, it doesn’t contain too much exposition to explain things, it’s got some nice visuals and it has very interesting characters. However, the book references things that I have no idea if I’m supposed to know what they are or not. Falling out of the sky from a floating wooden soup? Pushed through gates? I’m not sure if I am supposed to not know these references or not and that in itself bugged me. Also, I really was disappointed that this book didn’t explore a female character. I’m not sure if the narrative will switch over in future issues or not but if Ali and Jonah are the main characters then I probably will punch out of this series.
The artwork is excellent. There are so many details on the pages it’s overwhelming. Whether it’s the ruined city or the sleeping camp or just the imp’s depiction, nothing is skimped on in this book. The visual story here is magnificent, especially when we see the sleeping beauties at the end.
It all comes down to expectations I suppose. I had heard so many positive things about the title book that I was probably expecting something that couldn’t match those heights. However, I don’t doubt that a fan of the Fables books won’t absolutely love this book. I’m going to have to see where this goes but I found the opening issue to be just above average.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles