Jack of Fables
The (Nearly) Great Escape

Authors: Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Artist: Tony Atkins
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6451 7
ISBN-10: 1 84576 451 X
Available 27 April 2007

After earning a fortune in Hollywood by cashing in on his own legend, Little Jack Horner - a.k.a. Jack B. Nimble, a.k.a. Jack the Giant Killer - is now the most famous Fable alive. Sure, he's been stripped of his wealth and banished from Fabletown forever as a result, but Jack has always been a wanderer at heart, and the open road is like a home to him. So, it's a real shame when he's plucked off the pavement and unceremoniously tossed into a gulag filled with other renegade fables...

The (Nearly) Great Escape is the first in a new Jack of Fables series that has been spun off from the Fables franchise. In this collection Jack has been banished from Fabletown after breaking every important Fable law. His assets have been seized (all except for as much money as he could cram into one briefcase) and he is left to roam the earth alone.

However before he's managed to get very far he is kidnapped and taken to a strange prison. Here, surrounded by other missing fables he soon learns his fate. He is being held hostage, like the rest of the captives, until the Mundy world forgets of his exploits and he ceases to be a powerful fable at all. Jack must escape from his captors at all costs, but it won't be easy - no one has ever escaped before.

Obviously based on The Great Escape, this collection represents a pretty engaging start to the series. I for one am overjoyed that the Fables series is spreading its wings and being allowed to branch out a little.

You have to hand it to Bill Willingham. He "borrows" so many well known, and not so well known, fictional characters and makes them creations of his own. Only a genius, or a cheeky chappie could get away with it the way he has.

If you are a fan of the Fables series, you'll lap this up. And if you've never read a Fables collection (where have you been?) then this is the perfect place to get acquainted with one of its most important characters.

Nick Smithson

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