Fiction Squad #1 is a mix of nursery rhyme, noir, and humor. It opens with an overview of Fablewood, a combination of birds’ eye view and map before zooming into the City of Rimes and the scene of the crime: Humpty Dumpty has fallen off his wall—or was he pushed? Detective Frankie Mack and his partner, Simple Simon, are called in to find out, but there are powerful forces against them.
In the course of the story, Paul Jenkins pulls in plenty of characters, plays with puns, and employs the language of the noir detective story. There are references galore, and a sense of humor throughout. Jenkins also teases us with the beginning of Frankie’s story, a novella from the Crime Realm. Is a certain shadowy figure going to show up again?
Ramon Bach draws a lovely ramshackle town, full of all sizes and shapes of people, from gnomes, to bears, to eggs, and on between. One does wonder, however, why the women see in close-up are all small-waisted, large-breasted women wearing tight, low clothing. A world where anything is possible should produce more variety. Leonardo Paciarotti provides the golden sunshine that fills the realm as seen from above and the dusky sunsets and luminous twilights of the ground as well as the sepia tones of the Crime Realm giving the places their atmosphere.
While Fiction Squad is nominally set in the City of Rimes and features a number of nursery rhyme characters, Jenkins does not limit himself to the realm of the nursery rhyme. Simple Simon is there, as is Humpty Dumpty, the Crooked Man, and a host of other familiar figures. So, too, are Alice and her Tea Party (a rather nasty gang), the Wicked Witch of the East, and at least one flying monkey, all of whom hail from the realm of Children’s Stories.
Fiction Squad #1 is set in the world of Fablewood, but one does not need to have read any of the previous books to follow this one. Recommended for people who enjoy odd genre mixups, such as Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime series, which is similar in tone, or Weirding Willows which shares the joyous appropriation of literary material to tell new stories from old.
Fiction Squad #1 is available today from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Ramon Bachs
Colorist: Leonardo Paciarotti
Letters: Jim Campbell