Recently I've been on a bit of a Fables kick. I've re-read the first 10 volumes of Bill Willingham's amazing series over the past two weeks.
Fables centers around characters from fairy tales or folklore that have relocated in present day New York City. The reason for this move is that a tramatic battle has taken place between the Fables and the Adversary. This has caused much devastation in the Homelands and the Fables were forced to flee to the real world with as much as they could carry.
The identity of the Adversary is one of the main mysteries in the early books. Luckily there is a resolution to this plot thread in later books.
Fables has a huge cast of characters as it is able to draw from fairy tales all the world over. Many of them you will recognized instantly. Although some may be a bit different than the disneyfied versions you've seen in cartoons.
In the first volume Fables: Legends in Exile you are introduced to a number of key characters but chief among them are Snow White who is the deputy mayor of Fabletown and Bigby Wolf, the big bad wolf, who is also the town Sherrif.
Bigby is investigating the murder of Snow Whites sister, Rose Red, apparently by Jack. This is the Jack of many fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk or Jack and Jill or Jack Be Nimble. Jack is a thouroughly dispicable character who is unlikable yet entertaining all at the same time.
The first volume unfolds into a film noir type murder mystery and I have to give this book a solid buy rating. Subsequent volumes deal with different issues like politics, war and espionage all the while advancing the underlying story.
Special mention has to go to the artist of most of the Fables issues, Mark Buckingham, who does an amazing job with the art chores. No space is wasted and some of the most beautiful work he does are in the gutters. That being the space between the panels.
Also, James Jean's work on the covers are breathtaking. So much so they release a book of just his cover art: Fables Covers: The Art of James Jean Vol. 1.
Again I have to recommend you buy the first volume of this great series and please do try some of the later volumes which are just as enjoyable.