12 March 2012

Review: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham

You know Jack, right? Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and Jill. . . . That Jack sure got around. The only problem is all that hard living has earned him very few friends. In the early entries in Bill Willingham's Fables series, we learn just how bad Jack can be.

On the other hand, any press is good press, and Jack always seems to land on his feet. After being exiled from Fabletown, where all his fellow fairy tale, fable, and nursery rhyme colleagues live while in the Mundy world (that's our world), Jack hits the road and snags his own spin-off series. As the banner on the book cover says, "No one deserves his own collection more than Jack of Fables."

The (Nearly) Great Escape is the first in the Jack books. It's not necessary to have read the original Fable books before starting this series, though they will give you the deep background on the whole reason the Fable beings have been forced to live among Mundies (mortal humans).

After Jack introduces himself and his situation (see the scan, which is page 1), the adventure begins quickly, and the pace is non-stop. Jack is kidnapped by the Reviser and his team of Librarians, who are determined to erase the Fables from Mundy memories, the only true way Fable creatures can die. (Do you remember Tinkerbell from Peter Pan? It's kind of like that.)

One of the truly great features of Willingham's books is his sense of humor. The books all include witty banter and double entendres in the dialogue and art puns and funny details in the drawings. Mix that with some good storytelling, and you've got yourself a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Although Jack is about a half century behind in women's rights and can be, as Cinderella called him, a Jackass (ha!), he's a fun character to read about. His ego would fill a room, but wouldn't you know it? He generally lives up to his own good opinion of himself. I'm already looking forward to more in the Jack of Fables series.

As with the other Fable books, Bill Willingham has a staff of writers and artists. The (Nearly) Great Escape is co-written with Matthew Sturges and is wonderfully drawn by Tony Akins, Andrew Pepoy, Daniel Vozzo, Todd Klein, and James Jean.

Buy The (Nearly) Great Escape at an Indie, Powell's, Book Depository, or a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by DC Comics / Vertigo, 2007
ISBN-13: 9781401212223
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Ana S. 3/12/12, 6:23 AM  

I prefer Fables proper to these spin offs, but yes, they can be a lot of fun :) Jack being a jackass doesn't bother me much because it's so clear the reader is supposed to view him that way.

Marg 3/12/12, 6:43 AM  

This sounds like so much fun!

The Fables series is one that I really wish my library had, but it doesn't have any!

Julie P. 3/12/12, 7:31 AM  

What a cute premise!

Daryl 3/12/12, 9:00 AM  

another good gift recco .. thanks!

Zibilee 3/12/12, 11:25 AM  

I bought the first two in this series, and my kids absconded with them! This one sounds like a lot of fun, and I can imagine that I would really get invested in Jack's story. Great review today. I need to check this one out!

Martha @ Hey, I want to read that 3/12/12, 11:34 AM  

What fun these sound like. I'm adding them to my list.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 3/12/12, 10:20 PM  

Haha at Nymeth's comment about Jack being a jackass!

I have yet to read any of the FABLES books; shame on me, after your enthusiastic endorsements.

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