Monday, August 11, 2014

*Spoiler Alert* Not Really Off-Topic: Comic Book Review of Fables Trade Paperback Volume 10

FABLES is a comic book I only first discovered last year. I realize now just how much I've been missing out on, but I'm almost glad I've discovered it late. I can go back to the beginning of the 20+ volumes of graphic novels and read the ever-evolving storylines all at once. I am loving it. Every single volume I've read has been brilliant on every conceivable level. Storylines, dialogue, pacing and art are all pure genius.

One volume that stands out as particularly relevant to the issues of this blog is Volume 10, aptly titled "The Good Prince". In this volume, a character that for so long seemed lost in the background came roaring into center stage. The Frog Prince, also known as Prince Ambrose, has been working as a janitor for the mayoral office of Fabletown, a community of fairy tale characters exiled from their homeworlds by a being known as "The Adversary". The Frog Prince is constantly arrested for breaking minor laws, and put into community service.

But we've learned that the Frog Prince's servitude was actually a service done for him by the community itself. His family was apparently brutally murdered long ago, and the memory was magically removed from him. The mayor and his fellow public servants sought to keep an eye on Ambrose. Through a series of missteps their quest to protect Ambrose from the truth failed, and Ambrose is nearly broken when his memory returns.

Then something miraculous happens. The ghost Sir Lancelot of the Arthurian Realms comes to Ambrose with a message about a great destiny in store for him. Lancelot's soul is in need of redemption after his betrayal of Arthur, as are a great many other souls trapped in a mysterious realm connected to a magical item known as the Witching Well. Ambrose is offered vast power and the chance for some modicum of justice for him and his family, if he chooses to undergo a great ordeal which has the potential to redeem Lancelot and the other ghosts of the Witching Well.

Ambrose accepts the offer and begins an ordeal through death and into new life. I don't want to get into too many more details, to avoid over-spoiling the book. But the Christian imagery present in this book is striking, and is not simply implied. Ambrose is the ultimate 'humbled one who is exalted'. He is nothing, a nobody, who because of his humility and willingness to serve is granted exalted status, and almost godlike power.

This status only maintains as long as he stays true to himself, and he does this by rejecting a political and military solution, which his followers try to push him into. He instead chooses a route of self-sacrifice and struggle, even unto death. There is a huge cycle involving an entry into something like purgatory, and the releasing of the souls found there. Ambrose needs to be added to my list of pop culture Christ figures, and he may be the one who should be at the top of the list.

If you love fantasy, FABLES is the comic book for you. If you are a Christian who loves to see Christian ideas played out in new and modern ways, this volume is a must-read.

Storyline: 5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Pacing: 4 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars

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