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Graphic Novel Twofer: The Unwritten Vol. 9 / Fables Vol. 20

November 19, 2014

85. The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey, Bill Willingham, Peter Gross, Mark Buckingham (2014)
The Unwritten, Volume 9

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 18 October 2014 (during readathon!)

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New Unwritten!

Summary: Tom Taylor has accepted that he – the son of the author of a series of children’s books starring the boy wizard Tommy Taylor – has begun to accept the power of storytelling and to fight agains the cabal that seeks to end that power forever. But then, as he’s close to discovering the source of that power, he gets pulled into another fight by the witches of Fabletown. They are facing Mr. Dark, Boy Blue is dead, Bigby is in chains, and Snow has turned to the dark side, and they need a warrior of great power… but what they get is Tom. But what is he, if not another incarnation of a story about a wizard who vanquishes the dark one… and what are the Fables made of, if not stories?

Review: Oh, very good. The Unwritten and Fables share sufficient creative DNA that it seems almost inevitable that there would be a crossover eventually. (Fables has mined just about every other story for characters – Harry Potter couldn’t have been far down the list.) And they make the most of it, interweaving the idea of what Fables are and why they exist into the idea of the Leviathan and the power of storytelling that fuels the Unwritten story. It was a little bit hard initially to place this in the Fables chronology – it takes place more-or-less during The Dark Ages, but the world’s not quite the same as it is in the main Fables storyline, so reconciling what was going on with my (admittedly spotty) memory of what had gone on was a bit of a challenge. Because it’s taking place in the Fables universe (which of course is just one of many story universe contained in The Unwritten, and oops there I’ve gone down the metaphysical rabbit hole), and with so much of the Fables team contributing to the crossover, it almost felt more like Fables than like The Unwritten, which was probably contributing to my cognitive dissonance over how it fit (or didn’t) into the current Fables timeline. But overall, it taps into the best of the stuff that makes both series so resonant and so powerful. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I don’t know how well the crossover would work unless you’re (relatively) caught up on both series, but then again, anyone who likes Fables should be reading The Unwritten anyways, and vice versa.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Whimpulsive
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89. Fables, Vol. 20 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Russ Braun, Barry Kitson (2014)
Fables, Volume 20

Length: 256 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 26 October 2014

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? New Fables!

Summary: Bigby has defeated Snow White’s first husband, Prince Brandish, but not without a terrible cost – Bigby has been turned into glass and shattered into a thousand pieces. The witches of Fabletown are working to restore him, but it is a daunting task, and there’s no guarantee he’ll come back the same, even if they can reassemble every last shard. Snow is coping as best she can, especially considering that her daughter, Therese, comes home from the Island of Misfit Toys much changed, and bearing bad news about her brother, Dare. And meanwhile, Rose Red has been tasked by Hope to find a direction, and she sets about creating a new Round Table, one whose knights are dedicated to the cause of second chances. But when Rose gives a second chance that Snow cannot forgive, will the rift between the sisters cause Rose’s new Camelot to go the same way as the first?

Review: After Fables has seen some lackluster volumes in its recent run, this one came roaring back full force, and it did so by concentrating its focus on the one story that has always been the heart of the series: Bigby and Snow, and their family. They’re the emotional heart of this series that I always connect to. They’re the story that was the first time that a graphic novel made me cry. And this book puts them back front and center, even though Bigby’s dead and Snow has to hold her family together and carry on as best she can. (And, I have to say, there’s an interlude issue halfway through the Camelot arc that features Bigby in the afterlife that just about broke me. I’m sure there have been other comics have made me cry since The Mean Seasons, but the total is now n+1.) Plus, I love me a good King Arthur story, so I enjoyed that aspect of things as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out in future volumes. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Really good. Better than Fables has been in a while, in fact.

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Other Reviews: Can’t find any. Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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