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Jack Of Fables Vol 1 COMICS RETROSPECTIVE: And now, for something completely different.


Jack of Fables. Volume 1 Cover 1. Published by Vertigo.

Jack Of Fables Volume 1: The (nearly) Great Escape.

Collecting 'Jack Of Fables' Issues 1-5.

Written by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges.

Pencils by Tony Akins.

Inks by Andrew Pepoy.


In last week's POP Comics Retrospective, while celebrating their victory in the Great War, everything went to hell SO FREAKIN FAST for The Fables. . . as Mr Dark broke out of his confinement and decided to undo a bunch of spells, because he could. This wasn't really a big deal, except that it led to the utter collapse of Fabletown, and I'm NOT speaking metaphorically here. With nowhere to live, The Fables had no choice but to retreat to The Farm. This went down really well with the permanent residents of The Farm. Also, there are about four different revolutions brewing, as various factions, committees and special interest groups set their sights on carving out a chunk of the Homelands for their own. Fun times ahead. This week... We jump to a different series. Because... Well, I'll explain at the bottom. Enjoy!


heheheh long and hard.

Chapter One: The Long Hard Fall Of Hollywood Jack. Jack had it all. Power, money, fame, women. I'm going to go ahead and assume he also had huge amounts of drugs. Then everything fell apart, because Jack is the worst and bad things should happen to him. This time, the 'bad thing' is being captured by some distinctly anti-Fable people, who have taken him... somewhere.


Chapter Two: Jack In The Box.


The box in question belongs to Goldilocks.


As Jack gets used to his new surroundings, Goldie fills us all in on how she ended up as Golden Boughs, and we get to meet a few of Jack's new neighbours.


Including the total normal and not at all utterly terrifying Mr Revise.




Chapter Three: You Don't Know Jack. Already bored in his new home, Jack begins to plot his escape. Annoyingly, it's actually a pretty solid plan. Of course, Mr Revise has plans too... But no one's plans involve getting impaled on a railing. Funny, that.


Chapter Four: Jackrabbit. Aware that his time is running out, Jack's plan goes into action! But there's a reason no one has ever escaped from Golden Boughs before...


Chapter Five: Jack, Off. I REALLY hope every single issue has 'Jack' somewhere in the title. The only thing standing between Jack and his glorious escape is one Bag-man. And they can't be that tough... right? Let's just say, it's lucky Jack has some friends. Of course... not all his 'friends' are exactly trustworthy.


Today, on "Things that never happened!"

Well, that was quite a start, wasn't it? We kick off this new side-quest in the Fables world with an old school prison break. I can't lie, I really though Golden Bough was going to be a far bigger part of this tale... But, while Jack may have flown the coop, I have the distinct suspicion he's FAR from done with Mr Revise and his army of Librarians...


The totally normal, utterly Mundane Mr Revise.

Okay, so... you know how sometimes you're jumping through channels, late at night and you catch the tail end of a show, or movie, and it's a REALLY important scene, but lacking any context you're totally lost?


What do you mean it's 2022 and no one channel jumps any more, because Streaming is better than broadcast TV in every possible way?


Damn, now you've made me feel all old and lame. Thanks...


Okay, so, as you probably recall, all five of you that actually read my Retrospectives, last week I said the next volume we'd be covering was "The Great Fables Crossover". Fun fact: that's not just a cool title. It's ACTUALLY a crossover between the two main Fables series; Fables, and Jack of Fables.


But, being the foolhardy sort that I am, I pushed ahead and started reading "The Great Fables Crossover" without having read Jack of Fables. I got less than one issue in before realising I was missing out a HUGE amount of context. They do a solid job of explaining the stakes and whatnot, for people that don't want to read both series... BUT, I felt like I was doing a disservice to both series, by just skipping to the conclusion. After all, it's the journey that really matters.


So, I find myself this week, starting a new tale, sort of. This week we jump into Jack of Fables Volume 1, and for the next few weeks we'll be covering the following volumes, in order to get the required back story before we jump back into "The Great Fables Crossover" and hopefully THEN, we'll be prepared to truly appreciate the scope of what Willingham and Sturges have in store for us! With all that said, let's get stuck in to this volume!

Well. That's a bit freakin dark, isn't it?

I'm just going to say this right off the bat. I don't like Jack. He's a bell end of the highest order. Thankfully, it feels like Willingham and Sturges aren't exactly his biggest fans either, because a lot of rather nasty things happen to him, and this is only volume one!


This tale begins with Jack being grabbed off the side of the road, thrown into a van, and taken to Golden Boughs, a retirement facility for... Fables, seemingly. (along the way he also tries to escape and gets hit by a car. It's awesome.)


This is where things get SUPER creepy, and I'm 100% here for it.


We meet the person I'm assuming is going to be our antagonist, at least for the time being, Mr Revise. Mr Revise really doesn't seem to like Fables. In fact, he seems to have made it his mission to rid the world of them.


He does this by locking them up in Golden Boughs, and keeping them there, away from the Mundys (us normal folk), for long enough that people forget all about them. Because, as we know from the main series, a Fable's power is directly related to their fame. However, it's implied that he doesn't just do this to Fables. In fact, it seems like before the Fables even crossed into our world, he spent his time doing similar things to a number of other mystical forces, in order to render our world, well, Mundane.


The implications of this seemingly throwaway statement are pretty freakin huge, if you ask me. Obviously "Mr Revise" isn't his real name. Hell, I don't think he's even really a 'he', but he's choosing to rock a pretty solid suit/tache combo, and you've got to respect that. He seems to be some kind of . . . embodiment of censorship or something. When he finds something he doesn't like, he snip snip snips away and eventually everyone forgets that whatever it was he disliked existed.


And when you're dealing with a group like The Fables who NEED to be acknowledged, in order to exist . . . that's a brutally effective ability.


In a way, he's the ultimate Mundane. He's so powerfully, aggressively NORMAL, that he can erase the fantastic from existence. I had an English teacher like that once. Refused to grade any creative writing in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre. Twat.

Case in point. I have no idea who this dude is meant to be. All I know is, it's something to do with butter.

In many ways, Jack of Fables seems to be a slightly more meta, slightly more adult take on the basic concepts built on in Fables. Fables is great at handling the "Fables are real people" concept, but leans more into the classic fairy tale style. The stories are very much classic archetypes, we just finished the big heroic war story didn't we? Jack of Fables seems to be taking a slightly more "What if?" style.


I've got to say, I'm enjoying the slightly more twisted take, that we see in Jack of Fables Vol 1. The word lover in me can't help but giggle at characters like Pathetic Fallacy, who has the power to make mundane objects come to life, just as the bad joke lover in me laughs at The Hare and Tortoise (also, the name of my favourite Sushi Chain), who act as messengers in Golden Boughs, except that Tortoise always arrives to deliver the message long after everyone knows about it.

I'm down for these codenames.

Also really loving that Mr Revise and his people see themselves as "Librarians". Keeping stories in check, and making sure they stay where they're meant to... Although, I would say that a truly great Librarian is one that sends those stories out into the world, where they can do the most good. . . but that's a story for another time.


Overall, Jack Of Fables Volume 1 was a very fun start, to what promises to be a more meta, potentially more mature take on the ideas set down in Fables. Willingham and Sturges craft an interesting new adventure for everone's scumbag Jack of Fables to get lost in, and I can't wait to see how this all connects back to the core Fables series.


Tony Akins returns on art for this series, his more realistic style further increasing the more grounded feel of this book, and really making it feel like this is a side tale set very much in the 'real' world, and not the relative safety of Fabletown.


I'm very excited to see what terrible things happen to Jack, as this series continues!


If you also want to see Jack suffer, come back next time for Jack Of Fables Volume 2: Jack Of Hearts, collecting Chapters 6-11 of Jack Of Fables. Jack reveals the secret of his former relationship with the illustrious Snow Queen, when he took her powers and became known as Jack Frost. And in present times, he lands in Las Vegas and meets his lovely new bride, a directionless heiress. Could it possibly be "happily ever after" at last?


Don't you just love it, when bad things happen to bad people?

 

Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.

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