111. The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham

The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham. Art by Tony Atkins (Canada) - (USA)
Jack of Fables, Vol. 1

Pages: 121 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: June 12, 2010
First Published: 2007
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Life is a giant, coagulated bowl of suck.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: In my journey to read the "Fables" series, I find it is time to switch over and get myself up-to-date with the "Jack of Fables" series.

I've heard from various corners that "Jack of Fables" is not as good as the original "Fables" series. Personally, Jack was not one of my favourite characters when he was in "Fables" and I didn't miss him when he left. So, I went into this wondering whether I was going to be entertained enough to want to continue the series. The first thing, one sees is that the artist is different, recognizably so, but his work is in the same style as that of "Fables" in that the book looks and feels comfortable to the "Fables" reader.

The first story comes from a couple of frames from a "Fables" volume when Beast casually mentions he is off to see Jack in Hollywood as he has broken innumerable Fables' rules. So here we see Jack living high as a Hollywood mogul, making movies based on his stories when Beast appears to take back what Jack has stolen from them and sends him packing for breaking Fable's rules of engagement while in the mundy world. While hitchhiking with a suitcase full of money Jack is kidnapped and taken to a private retirement home with large grounds, very similar to the Farm, only this is guarded and certainly a jail. Here he meets many new Fables, most are not recognisable but a few are such as Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox, Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose and Dorothy and her pals from Oz. But a great surprise meets us at the end of the first chapter when we meet, alive and very well, a previously known fable whom we've thought to be dead for quite some time now in the Fables universe.Of course Jack must escape this prison and the rest of the volume continues with that storyline as he gets a small group together to plan and execute an escape.

I really enjoyed this volume. I remember Jack being very egotistical and he still is but his one-liners are funny and I've taken a bit of a liking to him. Jack may think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread but his plans never follow through the way he envisions them, taking him down a notch or two in the reader's eye. The great escape was a plot worthy of a Fables volume and just the type of thing I had hoped to see in this off shoot series. Jack's back on the road again by the end, so we'll see where he ends up next. I do hope it keeps some of the characters we've met so far in the story line. A great start to a spin-off series! Here's hoping Volume 2 continues to deliver.


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