"I want to make one thing clear, from the very beginning. We're not talking about fables as you've understood the concept up to now." explains Bo Peep in the opening pages of Everafter #1, the first issue of the follow up series to one of Vertigo's longest run critical and commercial hits: Fables. No longer hidden actors in our world, hidden from the "mundys" (the non fables), the fables of old that remained in our world have banded together as "The Shadow Players," and devoted themselves to saving our world from itself. Our world, the post Fables world, is creating "it's own legendary beings" and The Shadow Players are the only ones who truly understand how to handle the danger...
...and there's dangers aplenty in a world where magic and mundane co-exist and "new magic is being created every day. New lore is being written," to wreak havoc. St. Louis, Missouri is in a shambles and Bo Peep, Peter Piper, and Hansel have been dispatched to deal with a unique new threat to the new reality. Plenty of action ensues and writers Dave Justus and Matthew Sturges open their series with plenty of it. The battle in downtown St. Louis between the new monstrosities birthed of the new reality of fables in the world (an indirect result of the ending events of Bill Willingham's original Fables series) and Bo Peep and Peter is well paced, well choreographed and hyper-violent. It's fantasy violence so there isn't much to get squeamish over, but it's just a taste of things to come, later on in the same issue actually.
Artist Travis Moore's work here in Everafter #1 is perfect for the tone and setting of Justus and Sturges' story. Moore places the fantastical and the mundane right next to each other and makes them look right at home in each others' company. It's this type of artistic realism that defined the art and look of the original Fables series. In Moore's hands, Everafter looks to capably continue the stark realism mixed with magical whimsy that is both shocking and sublime.
Where Fables succeeded so spectacularly though was in its ability to tell a smart and literary story of the type that so many Vertigo series over the years managed to without resorting to gratuitous violence (at least in every issue). Everafter reads more like an action/horror comic than it does a profound exploration of the types of themes that Fables often delved into. This is only the first issue though, so there is plenty of time to develop deep characters and stories as the series progresses, so no need to worry after just one issue, if that's the kind of story you are looking for. Sometimes it's necessary to splash a little action across the page to get the average reader's attention, then trick them into reading something enlightening. With the guest appearances of both Bigby and Snow, as well as the addition of their son Connor as a main character, the tradition of interesting and substantial character develop is definitely possible.