FABLES - The Greatest Comic Book Series of All Time!

FABLES recently (with the conclusion of the WITCHES arc from issues 87 to 91) bumped the 1980s Paul Levitz LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES series from my #1 spot to a tie for #2 with HELLBLAZER

It's not easy to bump one of my number ones from its position.  

ROSEMARY'S BABY/THE EXORCIST have been my #1 films for close to 20 years. 
DARK SHADOWS has been my #1 TV series of all-time for well over 20 years. 

Other films (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK/REVENGE OF THE SITHF13: THE FINAL CHAPTERTHE LION IN WINTERTHE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER, PART II, among others) and TV series (BUFFY and FARSCAPE and SEINFELD and DOCTOR WHO and THE X-FILES and DYNASTY, among others) have moved up and close, but they can't topple my number ones.  

The basic premise of FABLES is simple:

An unnamed and unseen (until issue #40, when all was revealed) Adversary started a process of expanding whereby the homelands of the characters out of European fables were conscripted in to The Empire. The refugees (or LEGENDS IN EXILE) fled to the mundane – i.e. "our" world – and set up shop in Manhattan and Upstate New York.

FABLES, from issue 1, has driven me to unquantifiable amounts of distraction and is the only series I read twice a year, in full, up to whichever the current issue is.  I also tend to flip through random issues (usually the current issues that have yet to be collected into a TPB) multiple times a week.  

THE GOOD PRINCE (issues 60 to 63 and 65 to 69) is one of the greatest comic book stories ever told.  It is unlike any comic book story I ever read before or since.  The range of emotions the story elicits from me each time I read this breathtaking story are immense and powerful.  It's gotten to the point that I can't think of the titular Good Prince of the story without getting all verklempt.  King Ambrose – the former Frog Prince – has to be the most tragic character to ever appear in a comic book series. 

FABLES #56 is the single greatest issue of the series and gives a brilliant, yet deceptively simple, explanation for why and how Santa Clause does what he does.  

FABLES #81 features the death of Boy Blue, a character who started as a supporting player in the first section of the series, then moved up to main character and eventually evolved into super-hero status and after his death, into a messianic figure currently expected by some to return in a blaze of blue glory.  (Boy Blue was struck down by a magic arrow during the WAR AND PIECES arc and, being a longtime comic book reader, I assumed he would get better in two issues (max!) time.)  

During THE DARK AGES, I read along as Boy Blue deteriorated and ultimately succumbed to his illness.  FABLES #81 is the saddest comic ever published.  (There, I said it!)

The current arc is titled ROSE RED and is delving into the characters of Rose Red and Snow White with an extended flashback to their youth and the origins of the centuries long estrangement.  

It was the combination of THE GOOD PRINCETHE DARK AGESWITCHES and the currently being published ROSE RED stories that finally made me realize that FABLES is my favorite comic book series of all time. 

If you have any friends interested in getting into comic books, this is the series (starting with ANIMAL FARM) that I would recommend telling them to read. 

In the coming weeks I'm going to post my thoughts on each of the major arcs of the series.


The RESURRECTED: The Buffy Summers and Beatrix Kiddo Principles

Buffy Summers died at the end of Season Five and went to what she perceived to be Heaven. Buffy was resurrected in the Season Six premier. Buffy told this to Spike in the second episode of Season Six: "Wherever I....was....I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn't mean anything, nothing had form....but I was still me, you know? And I was warm and I was loved....and I was finished. Complete. I don't understand about dimensions or theology or any of....but I think I was in Heaven. And now I'm not. I was torn out of there. My friends pulled me out. And everything here is bright and hard and violent....Everything I feel, everything I touch....this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that....knowing what I've lost...." 

There's no reason to think that all of The Twelve are thrilled to be alive again. The Hawks are quite used to being killed and being reborn. MM, Aquaman, Jade, Ronnie and Osiris were heroes. There's no reason to think that they didn't go to their "reward" when they were killed; that they went to "their" Heaven and that they're not too happy to have been pulled out of there. I call this The Buffy Principle.

BRIGHTEST DAY #1 Aquaman summons dead sea life. Martian Manhunter sees visions of himself killing people and morphs into a Black Lantern.
Something is WRONG with that....

Now we come to The Beatrix Kiddo Principle . Don Hall was complete. Don Hall was killed in the line of duty people saving the lives of others and was at peace with his death. 

The Nekrotic Eight all died with unfinished business. Just as The Bride forced herself out of a coma and to walk again to avenge what the D.I.V.A.S. did to her in El Paso , so to did the Nekrotic Eight and Hal (Barry is an anomaly*) return from the dead because of unfinished business. Don Hall had no unfinished business, so he is at peace. 

But The Twelve may have also been at peace. 

There's no reason to think that Martian Manhunter wasn't in his Heaven with his wife and daughter.... 

Theres no reason to think that Arthur wasn't in his Heaven with his sons.... 

I'd be cranky if I was pulled from Heaven (although I know where I'm going to end up and it's not up there, but I digress....) and brought back to the harshness of living. I think we're going to find during BRIGHTEST DAY that not all of the RESURRECTED are happy about being alive again.

*It's possible Barry circumvents being at peace because of his emotional tether to Iris , a connection that Don Hall did not have to anyone.