24 July 2012

Review: Fables 12: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham

Volume 12 of Bill Willingham's Fables series, The Dark Ages, is very much a transition book, and I've always had problems with these types of books. Yes, I understand that for a long series to continue, some plot lines must be wrapped up and new issues and characters have to be introduced. Unfortunately, very few authors write exciting transition novels, and Willingham isn't one of them.

But let me be very quick to add that The Dark Ages is a Fables book, and I love the characters and the premise. So I'm not saying this book is bad, I'm just saying it isn't my favorite one in the series.

As I indicated, the major story line of the first 11 books has been resolved; thus this volume starts out by letting the citizens of Fabletown and the farm enjoy some downtime in the aftermath of the war. Unfortunately, the good times don't last because, as in our own world, there is always some evil person or being ready and able to fill the void.

The Dark Ages introduces us to a new bad guy--a very creepy one at that--and lets us see his initial acts of destruction and the first-response actions of the Fable folks. The leadership of the Fable community is also undergoing a transition in the postwar period, and some beings on the new team are having trouble coping with the changes and their newfound power.

These are the seeds for the next story arc, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the situation develops. Some of the changes in volume 12 are drastic, and it's no wonder a few of the characters are feeling blue. We readers are too.

The scan I've included here gives you an idea of the artwork for The Dark Ages but includes no spoilers to the book. It does, however, show you just how far-reaching the new evil has spread. (Click the image to enlarge it.)

Fables is a branching story, with a couple of spin-offs, tangents, and a prequel. So I will be leaving the main Fables books now to catch up on the Jack of Fables sub-series. I'll also take the time to read the prequel at this point. If you're starting the series and are confused (like I was), worry no longer. Thanks to the wonderful Kailana of The Written Word, I now have a reading plan. Be sure to see her fabulous post "So You Want to Read Fables?" Kailana's suggested reading order is designed to avoid spoilers while providing the needed background for each new volume.

Buy Fables 12: The Dark Ages at an Indie, Powell's, Book Depository, or a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by DC Comics / Vertigo 2009
ISBN-13: 9781401223168
Source: bought (see review policy)
t © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Marg 7/24/12, 8:28 AM  

I'm only up to Fables 4 myself but I am hoping to keep on catching up. I will definitely be using Kelly's suggested reading order when I do get further in.

Swapna 7/24/12, 8:56 AM  

I really, really need to start these books!

Beth Hoffman 7/24/12, 9:04 AM  

This series sounds like fun! I love creepy bad guys. LOL

Zibilee 7/24/12, 10:27 AM  

Transition books can be rough, so I can understand your issue with this one. I am going to read Kaliana's post though, as I do want to find out which is the best way to read these and find out which track to take. Thanks for the honest and revealing review.

caite 7/24/12, 11:12 AM  

Volume 12....nope, too late for me!

Sandy Nawrot 7/24/12, 12:19 PM  

I've only read the first, determined I liked it, and now just need to occasionally order a few from the library when I have a graphic novel craving. I am not huge fans of the transition novel but they are a necessary evil.

Julie P. 7/24/12, 6:53 PM  

I understand the love affair with these books, but I'm not sure they are for me.

online diploma 7/25/12, 5:33 AM  

Love your blog and thank you for sharing it with me. Your writing style has an infectious (in a good way) feeling of life, laughter and energy that makes me smile. I can’t help but smile, when i read it.

Tif Sweeney 7/25/12, 12:05 PM  

I am loving this series, but am only on #6 so I didn't read your whole review because I was worried about spoilers. I can't wait to get to this point though!!

Vasilly 7/25/12, 12:15 PM  

I know what you mean about volume 12. I kept wondering where did Mr. Dark come from? If you weren't going to read the Jack of Fables series, I would tell you to skip Fables Vol. 13. It's my least favorite volume in the series.

Andi 7/25/12, 2:35 PM  

Instead of focusing on how miserable far behind I am in reading this series, I'm going to focus on the cover. I love every one of 'em and just want to pet them.

Andi 7/25/12, 2:35 PM  

Instead of focusing on how miserable far behind I am in reading this series, I'm going to focus on the cover. I love every one of 'em and just want to pet them.

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