Storybook Love

Author: Bill Willingham
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP: 10.99
ISBN 1 84023 857 7
Available 25 June 2004

In the Fables' world, there isn't a lot of happily-ever-after to go around. As refugees from the lands of make-believe, the Fables have been driven from their storybook realms and forced to blend in with our gritty, mundane reality. But that doesn't mean they don't have any room for romance - or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that goes along with it. In fact, love may be blooming between two of the most hard-bitten, no-nonsense Fables around. But are they destined for happiness - or a quick and untimely death?...

Storybook Love is the latest Fables collection to be released (following on from Legends in Exile and Animal Farm.) This volume sees a slight softening of the narrative - especially when compared with the freakish events of Animal Farm. That's not to say that this is in any way a let down, just more mellow - well what do you expect from a love themed collection?.

In the main story (Storybook Love), Big Bad Wolfie and Snow White's relationship takes an unexpected turn thanks to the intervention of Bluebeard and Goldilocks - who have underhand plans of their own.

The two minor stories in this collection (Bag O' Bones and Barleycorn Brides) sees, respectively, Death tricked in order to prevent a loved one dying (bit of a clichéd tale, but still a lot of fun), and the tale of an old Fable fable (if you get my drift) surrounding a group of exploring Lilliputian men, who are cut off from their homeland. Their kind is in danger of dying out, as there are no women amongst their numbers, and so they send one of their number on a quest to secure a magic barleycorn. What's magic about it? Well, when it grows and ripens, a Lilliputian-sized woman emerges from it's flower.

In addition, the two-parter (A Sharp Operation/Dirty Business) sets up the backstory for Storybook Love. This sees a journalist confront the Fables with proof that he knows what they really are... vampires.

Another great collection that, while not as sharp and in your face as previous Fables graphic novels, is still a worthwhile addition to the stable.

Nick Smithson

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