Jack of Fables Vol. 2 cover

From A Library – Jack Of Fables: Jack Of Hearts

Jack Of Fables #6–11 by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins and Steve Leialoha

I told you I had been reading a lot of books from the library over the Christmas holiday …

After reading the first trade, I wasn’t that interested in reading any more of the story – it was nearly a year ago now [my review], so that should say something. However, when I saw it at my local library, just waiting to be read … well, I couldn’t stop myself. I didn’t hate the first trade, I just had no indication of anything special.

The first two issues of this collection, illustrated by Leialoha in an engaging, angular yet curvy style with hints of a cartoony edge, are Jack telling other escapees how he became Jack Frost for a while (by seducing and conning the snow powers from Lumi, the Snow Queen). It’s a cute enough story, if you can cope with Jack’s narrative style, but it feels inessential and insubstantial, not helped by the fact that you can’t trust the storyteller. It’s almost as if it’s just there to explain back story and to set up Jack with a potential child for future stories. The only interesting part is the the fun fourth-wall breaking interruptions from Prescilla Page and Revise, providing more factual information on the story and editorialising, respectively.

The rest of the trade comprises of Jack in Las Vegas – Jack ends up with a casino and has a run-in with Lady Luck, with the help of Gary the Pathetic Fallacy (and his mannequin). This has slightly more irritations, such as Aubrey’s Blog (a fat nerd narrating his part in the adventure, after finding a lucky horseshoe of Lady Luck, in the form of his blog posts), which is very annoying, as is Gary and his mannequin; Jack himself is also disagreeable, a slight problem with the central character. Jack is smug, irksome, egotistical and supremely selfish – it is a tough trick to pull off, trying to make him an engaging and sympathetic lead character. I applaud the intention, but it hasn’t won me over. Taking the ultimate Fables ‘heroic’ character and doing the complete opposite is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t have the ‘magic’ (yes, I went with the obvious pun there) as Fables. This makes me slightly nervous of the crossover that will be happening between Fables and Jack of Fables – I don’t want to have my enjoyment of Fables encumbered by its lesser spin-off sibling …

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