The Snow White arc comes to an end with the character (finally) refusing to no longer play the victim to Prince Brandish physical and mental attack which over the past few months has included breaking her arm, turning her husband into a glass statue, threatening to murder her children, borderline sexual assault, and keeping her hostage from the rest of Fabletown.
As her friends work to cancel the magical protections surrounding Brandish, Snow and the man claiming to be her true husband have a final duel which leaves Snow White free of Brandish but not without a price as one of Fables leading characters won’t survive the issue (although in a land of magic and resurrection anything is possible).
I’ve had very mixed feelings about this arc which cast Snow in the role of victim for fall too long. Although she finally gets some justice, the loss of Bigby actually makes it feel like Brandish is the real victor here. Hit-and-Miss.
With Fairest #15 writer Sean E. Williams and Stephen Sadowski step-in to tackle a Hindu legend and introduce a new character to the Fables universe. Nalayani is the toughest and smartest warrior of a small village continually under attack by both rogues and wolves.
With her village in desperate need of aid, Nalayani travels to the new Maharajah (who is not what you’d expect). On the way she will make an unusual friend in a Tabaqui, a jackal who proves to be more trustworthy than she first suspects, and will have another run-in with the rogues which will teach the men the errors of messing with a woman known for her skill with a bow.
More off the beaten path than the more recognizable characters of the first few arcs, this opening issue of Nalayani and her story is well told and the art works well. The stylized lettering by letterer Todd Klein leave something to be desired as at times some of the wording is difficult to read, but overall Fairest #15 succeeds in selling it’s latest arc and an intriguing new character. Worth a look.
An incensed Bigby Wolf returns home to find his wife a prisoner in the castle tower and vile Prince Brandish still claiming Snow White as his own. As one might expect, this leads to disagreement between Snow White’s husbands.
Although we get a couple of pages dealing with the B-story of Beast and the Lady of the Lake, working on the details of Geppeto‘s possible marriage to the Blue Fairy (a subplot that, as yet, has still yet to bear fruit), most of Fables #128 deals with the duel between Brandish and Bigby (who is unaware that any damage he does the infuriating scoundrel falls on his wife).
By the end of the issue Brandish’s many magical defenses prove to much for Bigby who is transformed into a glass statue by the Prince’s magical sword. This leaves a wounded Snow White to stand-up for herself (’bout time) in next month’s final issue of the (somewhat disappointing) arc. For fans.
Love’s the thing in this standalone tale as the newest available woman in Fabletown looks for love in all the wrong places. Told through the perspective of Reynard T. Fox, we see the trouble (the literally wooden) Princess Alder gets into when she tries to find a mate.
As a standalone issue Fairest #14 is fun, if mostly fluff. Over the course of the issue writer Bill Willingham illustrates why a relationship between a living tree (not matter her outward shape) and a human being (or even a fox) is doomed to failure. It also offers an important moral to be careful when trying to turn a friend into a lover for, as the issue points out, you may end up losing both.
I’ll admit, I didn’t find Alder, other than her outward appearance, all that interesting. Thankfully the issue itself has enough humor to get by (even if some of it is pretty lowbrow). I did, however, really like Reyanrd and hope we see more of him here, as well as the regular Fables title, in the near future. Worth a look.
“The Hidden Kingdom” concludes with Rapunzel in full control of her bezoars and a war brewing on the streets of Tokyo between two sets of Fables. Not only does Fairest #13 resolve the dispute between the two groups, it also allows Rapunzel to keep a promise to her old lover Tomoko and return her Foxfire (despite Tomko’s attempts to control and kill Rapunzel in this very arc).
We still don’t know what happened to Rapunzel’s actual children, although we do learn that Frau Totenkinder does indeed know their fate (but, despite what her daughter believes, may not actually be responsible for their kidnapping). And I’ll admit I would have liked to see Rapunzel stay with Tomoko rather than return to Fabletown with Joel Crow, but as the saying goes you can’t go home again.
I enjoyed Rapunzel’s story, and hope to see more of her in the future, but I’m glad to see this story arc wrapped up here and move on to something new. The tone of the last couple issues took a darker turn than I was expecting, and, although it works, I’m hoping for a little more wacky fun with Bill Willingham‘s return next issue. Worth a look.
Although Bigby and Stinky‘s road trip to find the missing cubs continues, the majority of the latest issue of Fables centers on Snow White dealing with the completely unexpected return of Prince Brandish who takes over the castle and plans to kill Bigby, murder Bigby and Snow White’s children, and then finally make Snow his wife (as he believes is his right under the law).
This isn’t a great issue for the women of Fables. Although she finally shows a single moment of spunk, Snow White is basically nothing more here than your basic damsel in distress for the entire issue. And Brandish makes short work of Briar Rose whose attempts to stick up for her friend gets her bitch-slapped into unconsciousness by the chauvinist pig.
Fables #126 also includes a story centering around Beast, the Blue Fairy, and Geppeto that I found a little hard to follow. It obviously involves a contract between the Blue Fairy and Geppetto, but what the Beast’s role is (not to mention the complete absence of Beauty) was a little hard to follow. Hit-and-Miss.
As Rapunzel faces of against the army of bezoars she created years ago to survive at the bottom of the well and use to escape and kill Ryogan, as well as Mayumi who wants her head, Bigby and Frau Totenkinder make their way to Tokyo only to get caught in the middle of Tomoko’s yakuza gangsters and Katagiri’s sumo school.
Things are certainly moving forward here as Rapunzel not only survives her reunion with her bozoars of hate and her run-in with Mayumi, but she’s made stronger by facing the past.
With one issue left to the arc and Tokyo about to erupt in a gang war started by Rapunzel’s old lover Tomoko you have to expect Rapunzel isn’t about to simply take he bozoars and go home. As to what final actions Bigby and that Chesire Cat may have to play, I guess we’ll have to wait one more month to find out. Worth a look.
With Bigby and Stinky off on a road trip in the magical car that used to be an evil witch (remember, the one introduced in the opening arc of Fairest) searching for Bigby’s missing cubs, Snow White has her own troubles to deal with with the unexpected arrival of old friends.
There’s quite a bit of fun here involving Bigby learning to drive a flying car that move between various worlds and dimensions (and nearly crash into several of them). Aside from the car, the comic also brings in Briar Rose fresh from her own Fairest arc to spend some quality girl time with the troubled Snow White.
However, Snow White’s troubles are just beginning as Bigby’s wife is surprised by the return of Prince Brandish, “protector of the realm, marshal of the west, and the first and one true husband of Snow White.” I think things are about to get interesting. Worth a look.
The dark past of Rapunzel‘s past is revealed as the latest issue of “The Hidden Kingdom” focuses on Rapunzel’s failed attempt to retributive Tomoko’s soulfire from Ryogan and the fate worse than death that befalls her.
By far the darkest issue of the series so far, Rapunzel is thrown to the bottom of the well with the bodies of the shogun’s enemies. Rapunzel stays alive on hate and by ingesting and coughing up her own hair which become the intelligent bezoars to help her escape the well and take her revenge.
With two more issues left in the arc, Rapunzel must now face her past the awful “children” she gave life to in her deepest despair. The bezoars are still “alive” and have been waiting all this time for the return of their mother. As to the mystery of her real children and the reasons for leading Rapunzel back to the well, we’ll just have to wait and see what else Lauren Beukes has in store for us and our heroine. Worth a look.
Had I paid a little more attention odds are I wouldn’t have picked up this latest issue of Fables. Instead of a one-shot or the start of a new arc, the issue is wholly devoted to the final three chapters of the back-up story “A Revolution of Oz” (which has been running for the past several months) and the further adventures of Bufkin and Lily Martagon. That’s not to say what writer Bill Willingham delivers here is bad, it’s just the fact that I haven’t been reading the back-up story and felt a little lost for the first few pages.
That said, the further adventures of Bufkin and Lily, even if it seems to be all 80′s style montage, is actually quite a bit of fun delivering a love story, fights for freedom, a mad scientist, weird transformations, and the peaceful end to an adventurous life.
Odds are those who have been keeping up with the backup story and know these characters far better than I are going to get more out of this issue than I did, but even for someone jumping in blind there’s still plenty here that’s worth a look.