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Northlanders: Sven The Returned

Who knew Vikings were so emo?

As a huge fan of Brian Wood’s Brigg’s Land and Rebels series, I wanted to check out his earlier work and picked up this Viking saga set in a A.D. 980 on the Orkney Islands of Scotland. Norseman Sven, who has been banished from his ancestral home, returns home after his father’s death to claim his inheritance.  Continue reading “Northlanders: Sven The Returned”

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Vol. 12)

Fabletown is gearing up for one last stand against the Dark Man. Pinocchio is assembling a team of the strongest Fables and, in what is seen as a hare-brained scheme by many other Fables, giving them costumes and superhero names reminiscent of those found in the comic books he loves to read. Meanwhile, at the Fortress of the North Wind, a motion to choose a new North Wind is underway. The North Wind has gone missing, leaving Bigby, Snow, and their children confused and hurt. The other Cardinal Winds move in, hoping to choose a child who’ll serve their own ends. The children think it’s obvious who the new king will be, but who ends up being chosen surprises all of them. Will the child step up to the challenge? Will Bigby and Snow be able to do what all parents must do at some point – let go?

What I like about this series is that nothing goes the way you expect it to – this volume was no exception. They could have titled this volume “Fables: Plot Twist Central”! I loved the arc about Pinocchio and his superhero scheme. This series isn’t afraid to poke fun at classic comic book tropes, and the end result is always hilarious. The cubs, thus far, have been more of a side story, and it’s fun to finally see them get more of the spotlight. Not much has gone on in Fabletown as far as “the next generation” goes, and it only adds a new element of intrigue to the story. I can’t wait to see where the story of the kids especially goes from here!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Erick Shanower, Terry Moore, and Andrew Pepoy. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Vol. 12). 2016.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 11)

The threat of the Dark One is rising in New York, in the ruins of old Fabletown. He’s gathering Mundy minions to build him a castle. He’s the biggest threat Fabletown faces yet, but their forces are split. In the old Business Office, Bufkin, the Magic Mirror, and Frankenstein’s head are all trapped with the escaped Baba Yaga. The coven of witches up at the Farm are in the middle of a power struggle. King Cole, Beast, and Beauty are doing all they can to hold both human and animal citizens together, but with Rose Red still bedridden, there’s little hope of pacifying either side. Flycatcher, King of Haven, is struggling with his first ever court case. Does the divided Fabletown stand a chance against the Dark One, or will the divide make it easier for them to be destroyed?

This volume packed a lot of emotional punch. Snow White and Rose Red’s backstory is finally revealed, and drove me to tears at the end of their issue. Though we know some of Frau Totenkinder’s story already, we see her return to her roots to try to banish the Dark One. Beauty and Beast also find great happiness! Their character development has been among the best in the series. The art was pretty consistent throughout this book, with Mark Buckingham appearing most frequently. His whimsical, highly detailed art is most suited to this series, and he has such a way of capturing facial expressions to evoke exactly the emotion the story is supposed to. As ever, looking forward to more!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Jim Fern, David Lapham, and Inaki Miranda. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 11). 2015.

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book Ten

It comes to the attention of Snow and Bigby that there is a villain out there who has the power to wipe away the entire universe – and rewrite it as he sees fit! The source of their information, is of course, unreliable… it’s Jack we’re talking about, after all. But for once, he isn’t playing around. He’s got backup to prove it too. They call themselves the Literals, and they are the embodiment of the literary devices. Kevin Thorn, the embodiment of storytelling, is the one causing trouble. The Fables, the Literals, and the Page sisters (the three embodiments of library sciences) have to find a way to stop him before he erases them all out of existence! Meanwhile, Jack makes his way back to the Farm. He has some unfinished business with Rose Red, and someone has some unfinished business with Jack himself…

This arc is called “The Great Fables Crossover” because it crosses over with Jack’s spin-off comic. This one didn’t do much for me. Mostly, I was confused on the characters outside of Fabletown. The Literals are many, and they weren’t well-introduced. They finally gave a cast of characters spread in part 8 – of 9. By that time I was almost through and didn’t bother going back to see who had said what or done what. Besides, just like Nancy said in her review of Jack of the Fables, Jack really is a huge jerk!

The next arc contained in this book, “Werewolves of the Heartland” was back to just Fables: a story about Bigby and an old friend from his WWII days. The art was really cool in this one! It looked almost like woodcutting or hatching. A good, spooky read for a cold and cloudy day ;D

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Matthew Sturges, Mark Buckingham, Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Jim Fern, and Craig Hamilton. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book Ten. 2015.

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 9

Working together, the Western and Arabian Fables, led by Prince Charming and Sinbad, have finally figured out a way to strike back against the Adversary and take back the Homelands. They’ve combined magic with Mundy technology, and the results are devastating to the Adversary and his forces. But the Adversary has one more trick up his sleeve, and he’s sure as hell not going down without a fight. Who will come out on top? And what kind of repercussions will this war have… on both Homeland and Fable territory?

As ever, there is much more packed into this volume than my short summary… I don’t want to give anything too important away =P The suspense of seeing how the war was going to turn out keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time – and even after, once the smoke clears and things start hitting the fan again. There were some issues drawn by other artists that I think missed the mark of the subject matter. Strange, because all others have been wonderful so far! Not a big deal, though. As always, I eagerly await the next volume.

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Michael Allred, Peter Gross, and David Hahn. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 9. 2014.

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 8

Sooo… remember a few issues back when I mentioned Flycatcher got turned back into a frog for some reason? Well, he’s human again, but he’s got a glorious purpose! With the help of Lancelot’s ghost, Flycatcher dons Lance’s sacred armor and sets out to stake a claim in the Homelands – a claim that is his right as a prince. Meanwhile, Mayor Charming and Beast are working with Hansel, the Adversary’s ambassador from the Homelands. Each party has something the other desperately wants – but can they exchange goods without starting an all-out war?

This volume! Was so!! Good!!! Everyone loves a good underdog story, and boy is Flycatcher the ultimate underdog. To watch him struggle for his birthright after knowing his backstory, you can’t help but cheer for him. Since it was mostly one story, the art was consistent throughout, which was a bonus! A few new revelations from side characters made this volume pretty juicy and moving along at a fast clip. As always, can’t wait for the next volume!!!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Andre Pepoy. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 8. 2007.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 7)

The secret mission Bigby carried out in the last volume has had a devastating effect on the Adversary’s regime in the Homelands. The enchanted forest, from which Geppetto was carving the wooden soldiers, has been destroyed. A council is called to decide how to strike back against Fabletown. It could end in all-out war. Meanwhile, back in New York, Mayor Charming has a lot on his plate. Poor Flycatcher has turned back into a frog, but they can’t figure out why. Not that they have time anyway, as they’re entertaining an emissary from the Homelands – the villainous Hansel. Charming and Beast are watching his every move. Up in Wolf Valley, near the Farm, Snow and Bigby’s cubs are growing up big and strong. They’re learning to control their powers, but as they turn five, are they ready to keep a big secret?

As always, the world of the Fables is widening with every volume. The tensions between Fabletown and the Homelands are coming to a head, and I’m very anxious to see how everything turns out! It’s also really been fun to watch the cubs grow up – they’re so adorable! The art tends to go really cartoony when the cubs are involved, and a little more realistic when serious stuff is going down, which is a great visual touch. Bonus stories in this volume include a few short comics about different Fables we haven’t seen before, and a whole issue dedicated to answering fan questions, which was really fun! Looking forward to the next volume, as per us ❤

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Michael Allred, and Aaron Alexovich. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 7). 2013.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 6)

Bigby’s left Fabletown, and he doesn’t want to be found. Mowgli has been sent by Mayor Charming to track him down. It proves difficult, but Mowgli has an edge on anyone else who might be looking: he can communicate with wolves. When the jungle boy finally catches up, will he impress upon Bigby how badly he’s needed back in Fabletown, or will the big bad wolf bite his head off? Bigby is torn. There is an important mission waiting for him upon his return to Fabletown, but there is also the dilemma of Snow White and their children… will she want to see him again?

Though Fabletown was interesting enough the last few volumes without him, I did miss having Bigby around and I’m glad he’s back. Don’t want to give too much away, but if you ship Bigby and Snow as much as I do, this volume will make you very happy ;D There is also a short story at the end about Cinderella, which was really fun. She does espionage for Fabletown and it was fun to see her work! The art is beautiful as always, and the covers are phenomenal. It’s been a while since my review of the last book, but as much as I love this series I’m really making an effort to go slow. I don’t wanna rush!!!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Steve Leialoha, Jim Fern, and Shawn McManus. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 6). 2012.

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5

Oh boy. This volume was just jam-packed full of goodies >:D

Want to know what Jack’s been up to since he’s disappeared from Fabletown? The answer is here! We also journey back to the Homelands and follow a mysterious man in a blue cloak as he tries to uncover various aspects of the Adversary’s tyranny… and is on a personal quest, as well. And none other than Mowgli and the Arabian fables turn up at the front gate of the Woodlands, causing some hilarious miscommunications and interactions.

There are so many new layers to this story every time I pick up a new book, and it’s so exciting! The world of the Fables expands and deepens with each volume. True characters are revealed in this volume, some heartbreaking and some triumphant. The addition of the Arabian Fables may be my favorite so far!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, David Hahn, and Lan Medina. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5. 2012.

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