Written by Mike Carey, Bill Willingham
Art by Peter Gross, Mark Buckingham
Published by Vertigo Comics
Release Date: July 23, 2014

Two worlds collide in quite an explosive fashion as the The Unwritten heads to the world of Fables in this volume from Vertigo Comics.

Mike Carey and Bill Willingham embark on something quite difficult to do successfully as they merge their two worlds in this story, and, for the most part, it works. I say “for the most part” because there are some hiccups along the way if you aren’t well versed in the goings on and major players of both worlds. For Unwritten fans simply looking to continue reading the series this is quite a shakeup, and there are a ton of new faces and characters to get a grip on in this collection. The Fables world is a rich one that is easy to fall into and find fascinating. The writers do their best to bring readers up to speed on the politics of this world in an organic way, which is most likely a welcomed thing for most readers. This does lead to some clunky dialogue along the way, but nothing that kills the flow of the collection too much.

While reading this collection, I found myself completely engrossed in this story. Even though I am not well versed in the goings on of the world of Fables, I was sucked in and this story didn’t let me go. There were moments of confusion, and probably some high impact moments didn’t hit quite as hard for me, but I was gripped nonetheless. This collection has all the great elements of a fantasy adventure tale: an army of heroes against a seemingly omnipotent villain, looking to buck the odds and save the world. That’s as classic as it gets, and Carey and Willingham do it well. They use the rich, multifaceted characters to create some great drama, but keep the whimsical, fantastic feel of being in a world of Fables even at the darkest moments.

The artwork showcases to fairly contrasting styles with long time Unwritten artist Peter Gross working alongside Fables great Mark Buckingham. Each artist has their strengths, and weaknesses and while their styles very dramatically the collection does feel cohesive. The two artists work well to create a single feeling for the collection, and the work is divided well. Buckingham handles many of the darker moments of the collection, which plays into his strengths. Gross builds a lush environment for the Fables to exist in, and I think this collection will have readers who are familiar with Fables or Unwritten feeling quite at home.

The Unwritten: Fables is an entertaining read that straddles two comic book universes well. The creators are seasoned individuals that know how to tell a story and while there are some stumbling points throughout the collection, it is a solid read that held my attention from start to finish. The book ends in a dramatic way that will hook readers into continuing down The Unwritten path, and I think this collection succeeds in the face of what a train wreck it could have been. I’d recommend this collection to readers of either Fables or The Unwritten, as I think there is quite a bit to love in this collection for fans of either series.

The Verdict: 7.5/10


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