There’s something a little amusing about the fact that “Fables: The Wolf Among Us” #1 is a print collection of a digital comic adapting a computer game based on the world of a comic book series. Despite its roundabout origin, though, Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Sadowski, Shawn McManus and Travis Moore take the difficult task of turning the computer game into a comic and make it feel rather seamless, even though the story just starts to kick in here.
Sturges and Justus are more or less bound to the plot of the game, but they give a strong narration from Bigby to help get inside his head and put everything into proper perspective. Sturges is certainly familiar with the world of “Fables” and it shows here; this feels like it could have just as easily been a flashback issue within the overall run of the series. It moves at a nice pace and Sturges and Justus time the cliffhanger to give just the right hook to want to see what happens next.
Having three different artists could have spelled disaster here, but there’s an overall through line between them that keeps it from looking too disjointed. That said, there’s also no denying that each of them brings their own distinct take to their pages; Sadowski’s characters are the most detailed and full-figured, for example, and definitely the most lifelike (even including human-sized frogs walking around on their hind legs). That’s nothing against the other two artists, though; McManus’s pages have a rounder and slightly more cartoonish sensibility, while Moore’s are slightly more angular. All three are definitely artists that fit into the comic and with one another; with each drawing every third digital issue and the print comic collecting three at a time, it’s a good and consistent system.
“Fables: The Wolf Among Us” #1 is a nice way for those of us who never played the computer game to finally read its story; having it set in the past is an added bonus since it’s theoretically free of any developments within “Fables” that readers might not be so crazy about. As a first issue, it’s a lot of setup for what’s to come, but it gets in and gets the job done. Now that things are starting to move forward, I expect future issues to be even stronger.