Fables Volume 20: Camelot ReviewSeptember 15, 2014
The Fables comic book series started in 2002 under Vertigo which is owned by DC Comics. The series is about characters from popular children’s stories and fairy tales who have travelled to our world (the real world) after being forced to leave theirs by a villain called “The Adversary”. After coming to our world, they have set up an area to live in called Fabletown which is located in New York. Some of the characters include Snow White, Little Bo Peep and the Big Bad Wolf who has been renamed Bigby. The series was created and is written by Bill Willingham who has writing credits for Batman and X-Men, among other titles.
Fables Volume 20: Camelot is available in trade paperback format and includes issues 131 to 133 and 135 to 137. The majority of the book covers the rebuilding of the castle of Camelot from Arthurian legend and recruiting of knights to sit at the round table. The main character in the story named Rose Red, who is the more adventurous sister of Snow White, takes it upon herself to rebuild Camelot. Rose Red sends out word to the residents of Fabletown that she is looking for knights to serve her. Many of the residents of all shapes and sizes respond to the call and the reader gets to see many different fairy tale characters. Rose Red sets up a tournament where different characters duel in order to determine who will sit at the round table with her. At the end of the story, she has the small group of knights that will form the nucleus of her new round table.
Since this is volume 20 obviously there are other storylines being played out at the same time. Bigby the wolf who is the Sheriff of Fabletown, had been previously turned to crystal and smashed to pieces. Luckily, all the pieces were collected and Bigby is now reconstituting himself.
There is also side story involving Geppetto (Pinocchio’s creator) who is in this series as a major villain. Geppetto has been banned from making any more puppets by Prince Charming and the sacred grove where Geppetto harvests his wood is now off limits to him. Geppetto hatches a plan however to secretly get his hands on some of the magical wood from the grove. Geppetto has also kept secret that he has one last living puppet that no one knows about.
This story involving Geppetto was more interesting than the rest as Geppetto is a villain and is much hated and feared by the others in Fabletown. He seems to love his puppets but hates the other residents. This was the more interesting story but sadly was the shortest.
In another side story, musicians of folklore go on an adventure to kill brother and sister vampires who are terrorizing a group of friendly giants. Among the group of adventurers is Puss in Boots, Baby Joe Shephard, Briar Rose, Seamus McGuire, Peter Piper and Danny Boy. They travel to an alternate reality Scotland by using a magical stone circle and are immediately thrown into combat against the vampire’s minions which are undead dogs. The female vampire named Baobhan Sith is also described as a Witch. Her brother, Brochan Weir, wields a magical sword that can take people’s life with even the slightest scratch. The team combines forces with the normally peaceful giants to assault the vampires castle.
It was fun to see all the musical characters as part of a band. The rest of the story was action packed as the heroes fought their way through a nightmare land against two powerful vampires and their minions. It was a good ending to the comic which gives the reader some much needed excitement. However, the main villain, Baobhan Sith, could have used some more fleshing out as this part of the comic seemed to focus on her brother more. The reader is left with a sense that it wasn’t much of a challenge to defeat her.
Readers of this series need to pay attention and it would beneficial to start reading right from the start as there are a lot of characters to keep track of and several interwoven storylines. The first story involving Rose Red is thick with plot, mostly continuing stories from previous volumes. There is quite a lot of dialogue to go along with the plot developments.
The artwork all the way through was solid. Steve Leialoha did the art and Lee Loughridge provided the colour. It wasn’t as detailed as some superhero comics but it was well done, clear and easy to follow.
Overall, the comic was good. Avid readers should enjoy all the various plots being advanced and a lot of different characters are involved. The story of Geppetto was the best, yet also the shortest. It was included to start a new story arc involving Geppetto as he hatches a new scheme. The writing and the dialogue is very good. It’s obvious Willingham did a lot of work developing all the storylines. There is a wealth of characters to choose from and Wllingham does a good job of trying to include as many as possible. Fables Volume 20: Camelot won’t blow you away but it is well written and does a great job of packing in the characters and reimagining some of them.