Friday, January 20, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Fables vol 16 – Super Team

At the end of the last volume, the Fables had to retreat from our world just as they had to flee from their homelands ages ago. They had thought they had defeated Mr Dark, but he broke free of their enchantment and is intent on destroying them all, and as the second book opens he has trapped them within the realm of the Frog King with no way out. He is slowly wearing down the defenses of this realm, so the only thing left for the Fables is to fight.

Since Pinocchio is considered the foremost expert in the area of superheroics (as a comic reader) he has been tasked with putting together a team of the most powerful Fables in the hopes that these fearless characters will be able to defeat Mr Dark once and for all. Meanwhile, Mr Dark continues to gain power in our world, gathering more allies around him – ones that may still pursue his agenda even if the Fables are able to defeat him. And the biggest trouble of all may not come from Mr Dark at all, but from Bigby’s father, Mr North (the North Wind) who has discovered that one of his grandchildren is an abomination – and must be destroyed.

I was a little inaccurate in saying this book starts where the last book left off. The first issue included in this book is actually a tale of Buffkin the flying monkey and his continued mis-adventures in the lost offices of Fabletown (buried beneath Mr Dark’s new fortress in our world). My problem with this issue is that Buffkin was somewhat amusing as a one or two-panel joke in a single issue, but as a main plotline he holds no interest for me. His story continues to remain unresolved, as he winds up in Oz at the end of this issue, and while I’m sure it’ll eventually connect together into an important story for the Fables book – I was glad to be done with it and move on to the main story.

The forming of the super hero team was probably the best part of the main section of this volume, as they do a casting call and try out all sorts of different Fables for the various roles. It’s both a humorous look at the typical character stereotypes you’d see in a superhero comic book, and at the same time it remains serious business as Pinocchio (and the writer) treats these clichés with respect. Unfortunately the superhero team don’t get all that much to do in the story, as it’s actually resolved by a bit of a dues ex-machina that was a little out of left-field for me.

While I wasn’t enthralled by the final comic included in this collection, it fit better with the overall theme than the first did. Here the reader is shown what’s been going on back in the Homelands since the defeat of the Adversary – that some supporters of the Adversary are looking to defeat the enchantment of Sleeping Beauty (with echoes of Mr Dark’s breaking of the enchantment on him) in order to bring back the most powerful allies of the Adversary. What we also discover is that there are two sleeping women – and no one is quite sure which one is the real Sleeping Beauty.

For me, Super Team continued the recent trend of getting this book back on track. It wasn’t a complete success (I don’t think it’s ever been the same since the defeat of the Adversary) but it was an enjoyable book and at this point if you’re still following this book it’s worth a read. But don’t let this be your starting point with Fables, this is a book well worth starting from the beginning.


Budd said...

I have this on hold at the library. Hopefully I get it pretty soon.

logankstewart said...

Agreed. It's not been the same since the Adversary went down. Nevertheless, I make the monthly trip to pick up the latest issue. I'm committed to the thing, after all.

Elfy said...

This one was a lot of fun, and I look forward to seeing what they do with the developing relationship between Pinnochio and Ozma, I would also expect Ozma to play a significant role in the Bufkin storyline considering they ended up in Oz. I think the pencils in that one were handled by Eric Shanower who is the author of the Oz graphic novelisations as well. The books since are proving that the GFC was a one off aberration.