The Fables series lasted 150 issues, but it all started here. Legends in Exile started with a mystery, putting the reader right in the middle of the action. There was no time to hear origins or a lot of back story, the characters were fully formed and in their world. The backstory and origins came later in other books and spin offs, making this book all about the story. In a world dominated by male heroes this book has two of the strongest female leads in comics.
Snow White is not the helpless princess, she is one of the leaders of Fabletown, a section of New York hidden from normal people where all the Fables live. Bigby Wolf is an investigator, who has shed his people eating past as the Big Bad Wolf and now is one of the good guys. The story is all about the missing sister of Snow, Rose Red and through out the story to meet the residents of Fabletown.
Once Upon a time is too Disney, and Grimm has lot of monsters, but this was the original reintroduction of the world of Fairy Tales in modern world. The one thing about this book is it is meant for adults. Kids should not be reading it early, as this is the PG-13 or R rated version of this world. Pinocchio is a foulmouthed kid, Jack has a lot of sex, and some of the action throughout the book gets gory. The art work is also stunning, capturing the feel of the old fable illustrations. This book is the total package, and you can go into knowing that the writing style and tone of the book is consistent from issue one to issues 150.
Once you start reading it might be hard to put down, and there are over 20 volumes and multiple spin offs to loose yourself in.