I loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is it possible to kil...moreI loved this story especially when it came out in a graphic novel of the same title (loved the illustration of the Silver City). Is it possible to kill or murder an angel? If yes, then how was it done? If yes, then what is the reason for it? If yes, then will God punish the evildoer? The story is an account of the first murder in the history of the universe, before even Cain and Abel, told from the viewpoint of Raguel, an angel whose function is to be the "Vengeance of the Lord."
The Lord: "Poor sweet Lucifer. His way will be the hardest of all my children; for there is a part he must play in the drama that is to come, and it is a grand role." Raguel: "Perhaps it is true that all that happens is in accordance with Your Will, and thus it is good. But sometimes You leave blood on Your instruments."
I gained a totally new perspective on angels because of this great story. Thank you, Gaiman!
Title Murder Mysteries Author Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
If you are not up on the Fables storyline, this is a fairly good place to enter. Though it brushes over years of history in wide strokes, the tale is...moreIf you are not up on the Fables storyline, this is a fairly good place to enter. Though it brushes over years of history in wide strokes, the tale is about Cinderella, an undercover spy keeping a lid on rogue Fables who use their powers too openly in our mundane world that the NYC fables hope to keep mundane. Our earth is their haven, a place they can hide from their own powerful magical enemies, and Fable refugees showing a hand to openly here can cause the minions of the Emperor to come looking (a theme explored with great result in the original "Fables" series).
When Fables cross from their worlds to ours, they tend to enter our consciousness, and we--the mundies who were born here--remember them as fairy tales, myths and fables. We even write about them. The more we honor them, the more powerful they are. Thus Cinderella is a hard to kill, never getting older, Fable. Her story is very well known. Is she the Cinderella of the famed story, well, she was--once. Now she is a well-trained agent, a James Bond of the Fable forces.
This standalone graphic novel uses flash back and juxtaposition to explain her multi-decade long run in with her greatest nemesis, an assassin for hire, a very angry Fable with a huge chip on her shoulder, Dorothy Gale. That's right, the same of all those "Wizard of Oz" books.
But, the Dorothy of today is not the sweet little girl of the books. She dumped her three non-human friends, seeks her own fortune, and loves to kill. Why? Hey, I don't want to spoil the book for you. Needless to say, she is a pretty powerful Fable herself. The two tangle in a battle to see which girl reigns supreme, and the authors take advantage with typical girl-on-girl battle action, the lead in fight that starts the rivalry (it is a pretty funny set up) taking place in the Soviet Union, in the middle of winter, with both dressed in swimwear. Say hi to the fan boys girls.
For the most part, the story is pretty clever. The Dorothy Gale references are to the books, not the movie, so only the truest of Oz fans will connect the silver slipper reference before it is explained. Though we may not tap into all the reasons Dorothy is so full of venom and hate, other than a need to prove she is the very best between her and Cinderella, the authors keep her focus so needle point angry that it works within its own limited logic.
Title Cinderella: Fables are Forever (Fabletown) Author Chris Roberson Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
"Box 13" is re-imagined (rather than a straight adaptation or continuation) as a comic book series. Originally commissioned by ComiXology and released...more"Box 13" is re-imagined (rather than a straight adaptation or continuation) as a comic book series. Originally commissioned by ComiXology and released exclusively on the iPhone, the series was created from start-to-finish with print-ready layouts.
Title Box 13 Author David Gallaher Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Mr. Dark had sown waste to Fabletown and had driven the Fables out of Manhattan. Recently, Frau Totenkinder had failed to properly contain Mr. Dark, w...moreMr. Dark had sown waste to Fabletown and had driven the Fables out of Manhattan. Recently, Frau Totenkinder had failed to properly contain Mr. Dark, who escaped his confines, forcing the Fables to flee the Farm in upstate New York and seek refuge in the kingdom of Haven. There's nowhere else to go after this, should Haven fall. And here's Mr. Dark now, very close to ripping thru the mystic barrier that keeps him from stepping over into Haven. Day by day Flycatcher's magic is failing him.
With Frau Totenkinder officially retired (fully deserving of her happy ending), Ozma has assumed leadership of the spooky witches what used to dwell on the 13th floor of Fabletown's Woodlands Hotel. Ozma means to assemble a strike force - composed of the fiercest and most fearless in the Fables community - to take on the malevolent Mr. Dark, except that Pinnochio suggests a loopy embellishment: Why not form a superhero team?
Pinnochio, an avid comic book fan (which started back in the early volumes of "Fables" where he, Boy Blue & Flycatcher would visit the comic book store), persuades Ozma that--in the interest of "every little bit helps"--it may be worth harnessing the faith and belief generated by a population of Mundy comic book fans. And as you know, belief is what sustains the Fables, the Mundy's belief in fairy tales and folk stories and nursery rhymes and such. Pinnochio himself has fully committed to his cape & cowl persona, having parked his butt in a wheelchair, noting that a lot of super team chiefs seem to be handicapped so. It's fun watching Pinnochio do his damnest to ensure that the Fables conform to all manner of superhero tropes, working feverishly to get the costumes and the code names just right. There's something pretty priceless in seeing the likes of Bigby (a.k.a. "The Werewolf Man"), Ozma ("Super Witch"), and Thumbelina ("Tiny Titan") outfitted in garish crime fighting threads.
I can see why there are some mixed reviews about this collection as the battle against Mr. Dark feels very anticlimactic compared to the previous one with Frau Totenkinder. There isn't the big explosion or the epic last battle. It's just not what you really expect at all. And yet...I like how it all goes down. It fits well within the Fables world, much like how Geppetto was finally defeated and it's going to lead the gang down a very different path than what many people I think expected.
Also, we finally get a glimpse of the person who had roused Rose Red from her horrid apathy at the Farm. Except that getting a glimpse doesn't necessarily translate to knowing just who in heck this person is. A fairy godmother of sorts? Rose Red and Snow White's mother in her true form? Time will tell.
I found the Super Team (F-Team assemble!) idea to be having potential, but it completely sputtered out in here, and some things aren't quite explained. I only wish some aspects of this story had been handled better.
In other stories we get to check in with Bufkin, our hero of the lost business office, who manages to find his way back to his homeworld of Oz in "The Ascent" (I love the tree with lunchbox fruits) and continues his quest to be the best hero he can be. And we also check in with our lost hero Sleeping Beauty in "Waking Beauty."
Title Fables Vol. 16: Super Team Author Bill Willingham Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Laban's one-shot comic blends the modern myths of the Green Lantern with the ancient legends of "The Arabian Nights", as the beautiful Scheherazade te...moreLaban's one-shot comic blends the modern myths of the Green Lantern with the ancient legends of "The Arabian Nights", as the beautiful Scheherazade tells fantastical stories of a magic lamp, a jade-colored genie, and their owner, Al Jhor Dan.
The wonderful illustrations enhances the very short retelling of this famous set of fables which borrows from the different (less well-known) stories as translated by Sir Richard Burton, but with the aim of providing the ruling sultan with lessons on how to properly rule his kingdom.
Title Green Lantern: 1001 Emerald Nights Author Terry LaBan, Rebecca Guay-Mitchell Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
In this spin-off of Bill Willingham's "Fables" series, Cinderella is a covert agent: her cover is a shoe store called The Glass Slipper. In her latest...moreIn this spin-off of Bill Willingham's "Fables" series, Cinderella is a covert agent: her cover is a shoe store called The Glass Slipper. In her latest assignment, "Cindy" must work with handsome but infuriating Aladdin to find out who is sneaking weapons between Fableland and the outside world.
Cindy underwent one of the most radical revisions of the major Fables characters, becoming a super-spy in the service of Fabletown, while operating under the cover of running a shoe store. We can blame Bigby Wolf for seeing her talent. It's not especially connected to her past back story, which might make it seem a bit random, but Willingham in the past has been able to write a very plausible spy, and Roberson likewise proves up to the task.
In this instance, Cindy is on the trail of a magical weapons shipment that has reportedly been sent into the Mundy world. In pursuit of her task, she travels to Dubai (the Las Vegas of the Middle East), and finds herself teamed up with none other than Aladdin, who is operating on behalf of the Arabian Fable world, the "real" Bahgdad. The two form your typical spy movie duo, and proceed on the case. The result includes some follow-up on the "Arabian Nights (and Days)" story arc in the "Fables" title, as well as a reappearance by a certain important figure in Cinderella's past.
And while all this is going on in Dubai, Cindy's assistant Crispin is using her shop to turn himself into the newest fashion mogul in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the shoes have some... well, unpleasant side effects.
Magic carpets, genies, parachutes, shoemaking elves, Puss-in-Boots, Jenny Wren and some very obscure figures from the Arabian Nights mythology. Most spy stories center on male figures (either in the Bourne or Bond mold), so it's fun to see a sexy, feminine woman getting to do the job, especially since we see Cindy's previous spy adventures through the centuries.
The only drawback is that we don't get as deep a look into Cindy's head as I'd like & I do wish we'd seen a bit of her doing her training.
Title Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love Author Chris Roberson Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Tom Taylor is the son of Wilson Taylor and the unwilling namesake of the protagonist in his dad's wildly popular 13-book fantasy series. The Tommy Tay...moreTom Taylor is the son of Wilson Taylor and the unwilling namesake of the protagonist in his dad's wildly popular 13-book fantasy series. The Tommy Taylor industry of movies, video games, and geek-ridden conventions is given an extra dash of drama by Wilson's having mysteriously disappeared years before, leaving a cynical Tom (who inherited none of his millions) to eke out a grubby living at paid appearances. But after an encounter with a mysterious woman inquiring into his past, the question of exactly what Tom is comes to the fore. This kicks off a strange and as-yet-largely-unexplained journey into conspiracy and metafiction.
Carey's story picks up speed fast when Tom realizes some elements of Wilson's stories might not be made up. Carey has not only created a brisk and addictive story, sketched with crafty allusions to classic literature featuring Mary Shelley, Rudyard Kipling (where Carey manages to reinterpret Kipling's entire literary output and personal life in the context of the series' ongoing plot) and Mark Twain; but also neatly subverted the celebrity-worship manias of fantasy fandom and questioned the very nature of storytelling itself.
Title The Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity Author Mike Carey Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Wagner and Kaluta team up to provide more backstory for the glamorous and powerful Madame Xanadu in Exodus Noir. Collecting issues 11 through 15, the...moreWagner and Kaluta team up to provide more backstory for the glamorous and powerful Madame Xanadu in Exodus Noir. Collecting issues 11 through 15, the volume toggles between New York in 1940 and Spain in 1493, at the height of the Inquisition. While both portions are engaging, the New York part of the story really springs off the page.
The theme of this collection is the Inquisition, with the historical setting of mid-15th century Spain, when Cardinal Torquemada's men roam the countryside in search of heretics to burn in the name of God (cue some standard moralizing about the contrast between the words of God's love and the reality of violent hatred). Xanadu is standing idly by through that, living with a woman named Marisol, her lover (this is Vertigo, so you can do stuff like that; it's tastefully handled, even if the trajectory of the story is instantly discernible).
In the modern era, the Gypsy sorceress tracks a demon set on destroying three men who thought they had outrun an ancient curse. Back in Spain, readers learn of Madame Xanadu's tragic affair with a ginger-haired seamstress that arouses the suspicions of the Catholic Church. The twists and turns of the two tales eventually dovetail in a dramatic conclusion that includes a cameo by another Vertigo mainstay, in this case the original Wesley Dodds or "Sandman".
Contrary to what readers will be expecting for most of the way through, there is no direct connection between the events, which weakens the story overall. The relationship is purely thematic, relating to the sins of the Inquisition.
Title Madame Xanadu Vol. 2: Exodus Noir Author Matt Wagner and Michael Kaluta Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
We start off with a two-issue story that takes us back into the Dark Man's history, who he is, and how he was caught in the first place. So now we kno...moreWe start off with a two-issue story that takes us back into the Dark Man's history, who he is, and how he was caught in the first place. So now we know just what a formidable foe the Fables are up against.
Where to begin? First we've got the problem of Mister Dark, the embodiment of everything you are and should be afraid of. He's preparing himself for something sinister, something that will undoubtedly effect not only the fables but mankind in general. If that's not bad enough, the tensions on the Farm are rising. Frau Totenkinder's departure sets up some surprising reveals about her nature. Her absence leaves the Fables' coven of witches and warlocks without a leader, and here's Ozma, that ambitious little girl (except, in this series, we don't go by appearances). Or as Reynard the Fox remarks when summoned by Ozma: "You called, young lady (with disturbingly old eyes?") Ozma has been raring to assume the mantle of leadership for a while and she leaps at the chance. Somewhere, L. Frank Baum is perhaps marveling at the changes Willingham had wrought in her.
Things aren't going all that well for Bufkin either--he's trapped in the remnants of Fabletown's business office with a whole host of newly released monsters-- including a powerful djinn and a very mad Baba Yaga. If you like Willingham's penchant for elevating mild supporting characters like Boy Blue and the Frog Prince into epic heroes, he takes a stab at doing the same for Bufkin. But with sillier results a expected. But we have to remember this: Buffkin is the librarian who has read every book in the library and he remembers everything. I grinned a lot reading Bufkin's arc: since he marshals his ridiculous forces which consist of disembodied heads, wee barleycorn brides, and the magic mirror. His waging war on Baba Yaga comes off like preschool play time gone horribly off the rails.
Meanwhile in Flycatcher's kingdom there's trouble as well. A drunk goblin has eaten one of the other citizens of the kingdom. The other goblins are threatening to revolt if the offender is put to death, but pardoning the gob's crimes might be just as bad. This story doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the volume but it does advance both Flycatcher and Riding Hood's characters and story arcs.
In contrast to "Fables 13: The Great Fables Crossover" which was boring and nonsensical, "Fables 14: Witches" has all the classic components that makes the series so incredibly addictive. If you think of the last tpb as a departure, then this volume brings you safely within the realm of the Fables we've come to know and love.
The book begins in the Baghdad Zoo where life is easy for Zill, his two wives (Noor and Safa) and his son Ali. Zill and Ali seem content but Noor, fee...moreThe book begins in the Baghdad Zoo where life is easy for Zill, his two wives (Noor and Safa) and his son Ali. Zill and Ali seem content but Noor, feeling a change in the wind, contemplates escape. When the bombs start to fall an opportunity is had and the four make their way out of the zoo and into the streets of Baghdad. The world is theirs for the time being--only the tanks in the street and the planes in the sky surround them.
Inspired by true events, this story tells of four lions that escape from the Baghdad Zoo during a bombing raid in 2003 and encounter other animals that offer unique perspectives, such as a tortoise that survived World War I. They begin to question the nature of freedom. Can it be achieved without being earned? What is its price? What do the lions owe the zookeepers who took care of them at the cost of keeping them in captivity? Where should they go? What should they eat?
The four lions soon realize that a desert city is nothing like the grassy savannas of their memories. Their experiences mirror those of the Iraqi citizens displaced by the conflict. In documenting the plight of the lions, ”Pride of Baghdad” raises questions about the true meaning of liberation - can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?
The characters are well delineated--you have an old, emotionally and physically scarred lioness with one eye; a proud and intelligent male; a haughty mother who despises the older female; and her cute, little cub who meet other interesting animal characters along the way. Additionally, aspects of the story, however, flawed, are well done: I defy you not to feel even a little "twinge" at the last scene.
In spite of these strengths, there were a few flaws that kept Pride book from being much better than it could've been. The dialogue, for one, was sub par for a story of this caliber. It's not poorly written necessarily, just at times cliché, unimaginative, or pretentious to the point where you find yourself rolling your eyes occasionally at the clumsy attempts to make the lions and other animals sound philosophical and "tribal".
Dialogue was the least of ”Pride of Baghdad”’s problem, though, and could've been easily overlooked had it not been for its biggest flaw-- its short storyline. A lot of interesting philosophical questions and issues were brought up in the course of the comic. But the story ends so quickly that it doesn't even come close to exploring them, so you can't help but feel either disappointed, stunned at how quickly the story ends, or cheated. This is a concept that clearly needed another one or two volumes to tell its story; unfortunately, all it seemed to be given was a paltry chapter. It's a shame, because had ”Pride of Baghdad” been allowed more space, it could've been a real masterpiece.