If it seems unfair to judge a comic book series by its initial efforts, that's because it is. Writers and artists are still fleshing out the characters, figuring out the arc, finding out how things work and where things are going. But it's also next to impossible to begin a series anywhere but at the beginning. Which is where Joe started me with my first "jumpstart on January" What Should Kester Read? selection; Fables Vol. I: Legends In Exile by Bill Willingham.
What I loved about Legends In Exile is what will keep me reading Fables, the premise and the characters. The premise is that the fable and fantasy characters of yore have been exiled to live in our 20th century reality. Those that are able to assimilate and adapt live a sort of undercover existence among us "mudanes," while those that would stand out more (talking pigs and such) live on a secluded farm away from probing eyes. King Cole is the figurehead mayor; his assistant, Snow White, is actually running the show; her ex, Prince Charming, makes trouble among the "mundanes."
Legends In Exile is mostly about setting up the premise and introducing enough characters to keep us interested, particularly Snow White's hard-boiled detective, Bigby Wolf. Where it loses me is in setting up a mystery for Wolf to solve that isn't that interesting and ends rather stupidly. The entire case feels flimsy, like it's being made up as it goes, and that's because it is. Like I said, Willingham is still figuring out what this is.
That said, what it could be is brilliant. While I didn't love Legends In Exile, I believe in the Fables enough to keep reading.