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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Fables #150/Vol. 22 – Farewell

 
Fables150
Fables150
Fables150

 
Overview
 

Story by: Bill Willingham
 
Art by: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leiloha, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Jose Marzan JR. and Various
 
Colors by: Lee Loughridge
 
Letters by: Todd Klein
 
Cover by: Nimit Malavia
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
5/ 5


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

Raves


THE END!; no loose ends!; consistent and solid storytelling; overall excellent artistic executions; some great features; accessible even this is a finale; LAN MEDINA! Nuff said!

Rants


Some clunky and mushy lines; minor artistic inconsistencies


To sum it all up..

SISTERLY LOVE TRIUMPHS! After more than thirteen years and twenty-one volumes of heartwarming, tumultuous, uncanny, heartbreaking and riveting stories of the postmodernist re-imagining of Western fairy tales, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha made good of their promise of finishing FABLES once and for all in another mind-bending volume with Fables #150/Vol. 22. This last […]

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Posted July 23, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

SISTERLY LOVE TRIUMPHS!

After more than thirteen years and twenty-one volumes of heartwarming, tumultuous, uncanny, heartbreaking and riveting stories of the postmodernist re-imagining of Western fairy tales, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha made good of their promise of finishing FABLES once and for all in another mind-bending volume with Fables #150/Vol. 22. This last chapter is entitled FAREWELL.

Fables150

This ultimate work boasts an array of some of the best of the best’s works in the comic industry (twenty-five artists draw here), including our very own Lan Medina who was the first artist assigned to illustrate the first story arc of this critically-acclaimed series (most specifically, Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, an excellent read… GO and BUY THAT!).

Fables#150/Vol. #22 clocks a whopping 168 pages, excluding the all-star cast glossy cover paint art spread by Nimit Malavia with Kenny Lopez. It features some additional stunning artworks by Mark Buckingham, afterword by the creative team, gatefold cover guide by Malavia, a script and a sort of writing tip by Willingham, profiles of the creators involved here and checklists of current FABLES and JACK of FABLES. I admit, this mean and thick finale spares nothing, no advertising interruptions whatsoever.

Now, for the beef of this piece of visual literary work, it has twelve chapters, fifteen “Last Story” mini-arcs, and seven “The Summer Prophecy” fates of Snow White and Bigby’s children. All of these chapters are intricately interconnected from the first story page up to the last one that says “THE END”. Browsing this one or just skipping one arc to another would end up being disappointed. A friendly reminder; read this book from start to finish slowly. Surely trust me, you will be greatly benefited and rewarded!

Long time Fables fans/readers surely know the context(s) leading to this finale, yet surprisingly here, the writer makes sure that there are some previous hints and expositions that newbie around may get ideas of what transpired beforehand that leads to the battle that would end all fairy tale battles, and the ending(s) we are so eagerly invested/excited/awaited so long. Some of the dialogues, thought balloons and scripts are clunky or verbose, but overall, the writing is still solid, concise, coherent, and a bit poetic, if not mushy, up to the last sentence. Is this a “happily ever after” ending? You have to find out for yourselves.

Willingham’s illustrations remain very consistent all throughout in the main story arc. Although some signs of aging on the artist’s part are visible, particularly in illustrating faces in far perspective, his brand of artistry remains the same since issue number six (a long time ago, indeed!). Understandably, with the tremendous task of drawing more than a half of the book, a number of inkers must come in, particularly long-time collaborator Steve Leialoha who does the heavy lifting and brings out the beauty of Buckingham’s drawings. Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green and Jose Marzan, Jr, frequent Fables inkers, work like a well-oiled inking machine that resulted to a singular inking consistency that is difficult to differentiate their inking styles from both Buckingham and Leialoha. No wonder Fables as a series is a highly successful collaborative independent comic. Of course, what is Fables without noticing the smooth coloring executions of its long-time resident Lee Loughridge! His coloring techniques are often top-rate for the majority of the primary storyline. Even when the mood is getting darker, edgier and intense, his colors shine nonetheless and simply nail the appropriate ambiance, timing and execution as well.

As for the artistic styles of various contributors here, I personally leave those judgments to the readers themselves for these artists obviously have distinctive styles suitable or fit to each of every artistic taste. What is important to note here is they appropriately nail down what Willingham wants to deliver to his creations. True, some pencils, colors and inks maybe a bit inconsistent, to say the least, but what is more paramount here is the consistency to the overall story that is the true core of the Fables series. Nitpicking to the last minute details should be left alone for more serious artistic reviews.

On a personal note here, I am so glad DC/Vertigo puts Lan Medina onboard for the last time. This is actually a very heartwarming moment for yours truly (and many fans/believers out there!) for Lan started with Fables, and appropriately and fittingly, should be part of the grand finale. A good friend of mine who first read this volume/issue commented on Lan’s drawings (twelve pages overall) and frankly told this reviewer that Lan’s overall output was mixed. I respect that, but upon checking and rechecking Medina’s pencils in his two designated mini arcs and reminiscing his earlier Fables works, essentially nothing change at all, except a little of scratches due to his aging, which is quite understandable. Furthermore, his sequential-paneling and narrative perspectives are still commendable. His intricate and delicate illustrations of the New York City skylines and structures are equally breathtaking to view. And the artistic executions in many levels are considered at par with the industry’s best. Perhaps, his facial illustrations, especially in far-angular perspectives are diminished unlike his earlier works, but nevertheless, his pencils mesh well with the stories’ overall intent.

In conclusion, Fables#150/Vol. #22 literally finishes off Vertigo’s longest comic series. It nicely ties so many loosed ends that leave virtually no more speculations or what if’s in the air. The creative team fulfills its promise to Fables readers and fans no matter what. And most significantly at all, Lan Medina is part of this fairy tale roller coaster finale and farewell ride!


Paul Ramos

 


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