Written by: Paul Jenkins
Illustrated by: Ramon Bachs
Colors by: Leonardo Paciarotti
Letters by: Jim Campbell
Published by: BOOM!
In the world of make-believe and fairy tales somebody has to uphold the law when bodies turn up. This book opens with the attempted murder of Humpty Dumpty and it only gets more bizarre from there. From a turf war between the card queens from Alice in Wonderland (Queen of hearts anyone?) and the witches from the Wizard of Oz, Paul Jenkins may have found a way to one-up Bill Willingham’s book Fables.
We follow Frankie Mack, a hard-boiled gumshoe detective from a forgotten novella, who now patrols the streets of Rimes, home to your favorite childhood fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Pinocchio is his main informant, and gangs like Alice and her goons are Frankie’s common, everyday pain in the ass. When your crime scenes involve someone dropping a house on a victim, one of the witches from OZ gets taken out with less than subtle hit, or you’re being saved by the seven dwarves, it’s not your typical job, and this is not your typical comic.
Fiction Squad does what few stories can. It’ll remind you of the wonder of fantasy and imagination while balancing the story with a noir twist.
Jenkins once again proves why he is one of the best writers in the medium crafting a story that moves along at a good clip while leaving the settings and characters fresh. Every page is an adventure that only gets better with every turn.
Ramon Bachs was not an artist that I was familiar with going into this series, but after reading this graphic novel I will be picking up any title that carries this talented visionary’s work. His art work explodes off of the page. Each panel is well thought out and executed, and it doesn’t hurt that he knows how to draw one hell of a nice looking female figure.
By the time the book wraps, you’ve been taken on a magical mystery that hits most of the mainstays of fairy tale lore. The hidden villain of the book was a nice touch, not much of a surprise, but the execution of the story after the bad guys reveal was refreshing.
I don’t think I can give this a higher endorsement as one of the better trades that I’ve read in a minute. This story is worth every penny of the cover price and deserves multiple readings.