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Comic Review: Fables, Vol. 19
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Vertigo Comics: Fables, Vol. 19 cover by Mark BuckinghamFables, Vol. 19
Trade Paperback | Kindle Edition
Written and Created by Bill Willingham
Illustrated by Mark Buckingham, Shawn McManus
Inks by Steve Leialoha
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Lettered by Todd Klein
Cover by Mark Buckingham
Vertigo Comics
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Cover Price: $16.99

Bill Willingham gives us another installment of his nigh-legendary series in Fables, Vol. 19. Before this trade paperback continues the story of the exiled “Fables” in Fabletown, NY, the first third of this edition features the collected back-up stories of Bufkin, the flying monkey with no wings and Lily, his miniature-sized girlfriend.

The collected back-up stories are illustrated by Shawn McManus. His slightly-cartoonish style works well for Bufkin’s revolution in Oz. Couple that with Willingham’s writing, and this self-contained story masterfully transitions from a revolutionary war against a tyrant, into an adventurous love story that follows the odd-couple of Bufkin and Lily until their beautiful end.

I found myself wanting to read more about the duo as their story came to a fitting conclusion. If this edition of Fables only contained this story, I would have been satisfied!

The second two-thirds returns us to the ongoing story of Fabletown. The “Snow White” story-arc finds Bigsby (Big Bad Wolf) leaving town in a mystic car to try and find his and Snow White’s lost cubs. Snow White is not able to grieve for long, however, because a mysterious intruder in Castle Dark threatens to destroy her marriage to Bigsby.

This story takes quite a bit of time to take off. After the emotional story of Bufkin and Lily, I found myself not caring too much about the lost children and mysterious interloper in Castle Dark.

But (and that’s a huge “but”), as series artist Mark Buckingham’s very grounded art style melds with Willingham’s tale, I found myself gripped with the struggle that was unfolding. I was sucked into the lives of the characters and I’m not sure when that happened. (I went back and looked too!)

Emotion. Action. Family drama. Magic.

Fables #19 is a great volume to check out and is actually a great jumping on point for newcomers who like stories that are both mature and magical.

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