For those who have no idea what Fables is (and if this is you, why??) the basic idea is that all of the fairytale characters you've ever heard of (and the ones you haven't) have fled their homelands during a war with an enemy known as the Adversary, and are now living in a new Fabletown, in New York. That was the premise in the beginning, anyway. A lot has happened since then.
I was a little bit confused at the beginning of this volume, because I haven't yet started the Jack of Fables series, and so I felt a bit like I was missing some information. I do plan to get to the series at some point, but as Jack pops in and out of the main Fables storylines, I wasn't completely adrift, and I still have seven volumes of Fables to go (and I'm pretty sure there'll be at least one more before it ends next year), and two of Bill Willingham's new series, Fairest, so it might be a while!
This latest volume takes place after all the drama with the Adversary is over, after the battle of Fabletown, and it has a new (ish) villain and a cast of characters in the form of the Literals, who are embodiments of ideas and thoughts rather than fairytale characters of imagination, like most of the fables. The plot is pretty similar to a lot of the preceeding volumes; various fable characters (this time Bigby and Snow White along with a few others) set off on a mission to defeat an enemy who threatens their very existence. Things happen along the way... But somehow, despite its slightly formulaic approach, The Great Fables Crossover manages to have characters you want to read about and be unpredictable enough to keep you hooked right until the end.
As a whole, I love this series, but I do go up and down with how much I enjoy individual volumes. Some just aren't as gripping as others, but I would say that on the whole this was one of my more favoured ones. The plot is strong and I really enjoy the way that Willingham and his collaborators weave narratives together - one of my favourite things about the Fables series is that unexpected people keep turning up and the story is continually taking unexpected turns. While I don't love it as much as I loved the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, it's definitely a very close second and a brilliant addition to my fairytale reading. Plus it goes really well with Season One of Once Upon a Time, which we're catching up with on Lovefilm at the moment!
I have a hard time writing about Fables as a series, purely because I like it so much and I want everybody to go out and read it so we can talk about it now, please? And I don't want to ruin it at all for you, so I try to talk about it without talking about specifics, which makes it difficult to talk about at all, really. All I can say is, I'd like Rose Red back now, please. Enough moping already!