It has been about a year and a month since the final Fables issue was released, which has to be tough for diehards since that series had been so consistent since its first issue in 2003. Fear not, for it is back (sort of). Is it good?
Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #1 (Vertigo)
So what’s it about? The official Vertigo summary reads:
From the team that brought you FABLES: THE WOLF AMONG US comes a new chapter of the FABLES legacy! In a post-Fables world where magic abounds, it can be wielded for the greater good or used to plant the seeds of anarchy and terrorism. The Shadow Players are a global network of agents—both Fable and mundane—tasked with policing a newly enchanted world and protecting humanity from itself. EVERAFTER features the return of series favorites Bo Peep, Peter Piper, Hansel, and Connor Wolf, as well as exciting new characters and a terrifying new villain! Written by FABLES: THE WOLF AMONG US veterans Matthew Sturges and Dave Justus with gorgeous art by Travis Moore (Fables: The Wolf Among Us, JLA All Stars), you won’t want to miss this series that FABLES creator Bill Willingham himself told us we had to get into your hands as quickly as possible!
Why does this book matter?
Fables took the nursery rhymes and fairy tales and aged them up a bit, gave them a lore that explained how they actually existed, and delivered consistently good drama. Series creator Bill Willingham isn’t back on this title, but he might as well be as this series spins off of the ultra sized Fables #150.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
What do you do with a world of magical characters now that the world is aware of their existence? Well, writers David Justus and Matthew Sturges turn it into an espionage series of course! While this series does connect to Fables in a few different ways it’s not hard to drop in now having not read the previous series. Connor, the son of the Big Bad Wolf and Cinderella, is joining a spy group whose job is to be a spy for magical creatures. This issue cuts back and forth between his induction and a terrible event involving zombies.
The basic concept is that new lore is created everyday, but only the traditional fables know how to comprehend and understand the power that comes with it. Now that the world knows they exist it’s their job to keep it in check. The premise is sound and works well especially with this issue’s example of zombies taking over. It also helps that the team is introduced with Hansel and Bo Peep at the ready.
Travis Moore does a good job on art too, with lots of detailed panels containing hundreds of zombies, gore, and well rendered backgrounds and environments. The characters themselves are filled with life, featuring great facial expressions and plenty of acting. The world itself looks gritty with plenty of wear throughout the issue which helps give it a real world feel. There’s also a winning full page spread divided by four panels as Conner walks down a staircase and sees the inner workings of the agency he now works for.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As an issue that drops you right into the heat of war, it’s a bit discombobulating to understand the state of the world and the level of threat we’re witnessing. Have zombies taken over the world, or are they just taking over the area? It’s unclear, and it’s made more fuzzy by the need to introduce the characters and concept of the bigger concepts in general. The issue largely succeeds, but it still feels fuzzy by the end.
What the hell is going on!?
Is It Good?
Everafter has a winning formula of multiple genres, which feels right at home in the Vertigo library. The first issue solidly introduces us to the characters and their MO though it could use a bit more clarity as far as the state of the world.