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Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland (2012)
Written by: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: Jim Fern
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 152 pages

Why I Read It: As this has been the year of reading Fables and becoming a fan, it made sense that my husband would pick up the latest hardcover for the franchise, especially since we don't know if said hardcover's story will appear in the Deluxe Editions that are being published. I did a little research to make sure this would be safe to read (we're only caught up through Volume 5 of the hardcovers, and that's pretty far behind for the series at large), and settled down with it on a weekend to see what Willingham had in store.

The premise: ganked form At long last! The long-awaited original FABLES: WEREWOLVES OF THE HEARTLAND graphic novel is here!

Bigby Wolf embarks on a quest through the American Heartland to find a new location for Fabletown, a secret society of exiled fairy tale characters living among the "mundys." In his wanderings, Bigby stumbles across Story City, a small town that seems to be occupied solely by werewolves. Oddly enough, they seem to already know and revere Bigby, but at the same time they've captured and caged him. 

FABLES: WEREWOLVES OF THE HEARTLAND tells an epic tale that began well before Bigby Wolf set foot in the bucolic plains of the Midwest. It began long ago when he served in World War II and became mired in a Nazi experiment that would change nations. It's soon evident that murder in Story City is the least of their sins, and unraveling the town's many mysteries may cost Bigby, the seventh son of the North Wind, much more than his own life.

Spoilers, yay or nay?: Nay. Honestly, I don't have a lot to say about this, so no need to worry about spoilers. But if you are in a hurry, please feel free to skip to "My Rating" and you'll be fine.

The Story: As long as you've already read about Bigby's stint in World War II, you're fine reading this hardcover. Mostly. There's one little line of dialogue that spoils something that happens in a later issue that I haven't read, but since I already knew about it (I've seen the cover of that issue, and it spoils itself), it's no big deal.

At first, I was pretty engaged. I liked the idea of werewolves who essentially descended from Bigby, but frankly, the story turned into something far too familiar. Small town, something's wrong and out of place, and a stranger gets mixed up in it and tries to put it right or die trying. Because this if Fables, you already know what the ending is going to be for Bigby at least, so that sucked out a lot of tension of the story. And then there's Oda, whose role in the story is perplexing and rather unnerving, especially given the ending. I won't be surprised to learn that she comes back into the Fables universe to cause trouble down the road, but at this point, I wonder why even bother? I suppose I should have faith in the story and just go along with it, but right now, I'm not very engaged by the possibility.

There also appears to be an error in the story: we learn how the two werewolves were created from Bigby's blood back in the WWII story, and we also learn there was a major explosion. Both of those people were in that explosion, but apparently, the turn into werewolves saved them. Yet later in this story, Bigby talks about the sure way to kill a werewolf: fire. He says that werewolves can never heal from burns. But if that's true, and did the "Adam and Eve" werewolves of this town manage to even turn to begin with? Anyone who's read this story, please let me know your thoughts. It seems like a pretty big error for such a small story, but maybe I just missed something.

The Art: Lots of boobs and penises. Makes sense, when you consider the werewolves of Story City strip down before turning, but meh. The art itself was fine. I wasn't in love with it, but I didn't hate it either.

My Rating: It's a Gamble

It's an underwhelming story, to be honest. I won't say it's bad: it's just a quickie adventure that lacks tension because reader's can pretty much guess how it ends, and the details regarding the residents of the city itself are, well, a non-starter, I guess. We don't know these people at all, so we don't have any stake in their fates. The ending itself is a little odd, raising a question of what's going to happen down the road rather than simply resolving the story. I supposed I'll know how that plays out when it shows up in the series, but as it stands, this story is rather forgettable. Maybe it'll be heightened later down the road, but for now, it was just a quick read that doesn't really add anything to the Fables universe, let alone to werewolf stories as a whole.

Cover Commentary: It works. It's interesting to see Bigby fighting werewolves, though I have to say, I was rather concerned about the fact he was holding a blonde in his arms, a blonde who clearly is not Snow White. :)

Next Up: The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 4th, 2012 09:19 am (UTC)
I thought there was someone else aside from temporaryworlds reading Fables this year on my friends page. :)

I've been lucky that someone in our library service decided to buy this series though some are the deluxe editions and others single trade paperbacks. most of them are sited at one library but easy enough to get them sent to my branch one at a time.
Dec. 4th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
If that's the case, I recommend picking one format over the other, because you'll be in danger of re-reading stories otherwise. :)
Dec. 4th, 2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
I can't really. I have to go with what the library has and they haven't been consistent in their buying between one and the other. For example the 2012 Deluxe editions are not in stock.

Obviously in cases of duplicate stories I'll just skip them. :) Unfortunately I can't afford to buy them.

Dec. 4th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
Oy. That's a hard way to get through the series, but I understand. Have fun! :)
Dec. 5th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... I think I'll end up waiting and getting this one from my library instead of buying it. From your review, I can tell it's not as strong as the other prequel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall.
Dec. 6th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
Definitely go through the library first. That way, you can decide later if it's something you want to collect for your own personal library. This one, btw, is not a prequel, but don't worry: you've read what's necessary to appreciate this. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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