Fables may be completed, but it seems there are still stories left to tell. Taking place in a world where magic runs rampant and no longer has to hide, Everafter #1 introduces us to The Shadow Players (network of both Fable and mundane agents tasked with policing a newly enchanted world). The first issue gives us a trio of Shadow Players (Bo Peep, Hansel, and Peter Piper) searching a zombie-infested train station for a “package” their boss wants found. Things get even more interesting with one member of the team chooses his own agenda over the mission.
Everafter #1 sells me on the concept of the issue, although for a Fables spy series there’s a definite lack of Cinderella here. Although it’s likely laying the groundwork for something bigger to come, the subplot of Snow White and Bigby Wolf‘s son joining the secret organization feels a bit shoehorned in.
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Offering a brief interlude to the rising tensions between sisters, Fables #147 takes Rose Red back home to the house she grew-up in and offers her the opportunity to choose a peaceful path in nature rather than continue the road to war begun so many issues ago. Although momentarily tempted, Rose chooses forbidden knowledge
The issue’s other storyline involves Fabletown attempting to bring the immortal Prince Brandish to justice for the murder of Weyland Smith. Choosing trail by combat Brandish squares off against, and is quickly decapitated by, Lancelot. However, the prince’s unique medical condition doesn’t allow the contest to end causing serious confusion as to what happens next.
Should the pair be still dueling when Rose Red returns you have to wonder what her reaction to the odd scenario might be and if Lancelot’s realization that he is indeed Guinevere may come to pass as his attempt to take down a guilty knave his queen has pardoned might actually quicken the fall of the new Camelot. Worth a look.
As the race towards sisterly civil war moves closer, Rose Red and Bellflower step-up in an attempt to kill the out-of-control Bigby who neither realizes is being controlled by the unseen hand of a powerful sorceress. Although the pair make for a formidable team, they are unsuccessful in Fabletown’s second attempt to stop the half-crazed monster.
The Camelot reborn storyline continues (even with a sword stuck in a stone) and it seems less and less likely that Rose Red and Snow White‘s battle of wills won’t end in bloodshed. As foreshadowing of just that, the issue opens with three pages involving a secret meeting between Snow and Cinderella whose unique skills will apparently be put to the test against one of the hardest assignments she’s ever accepted. As for Bigby, with the series winding to a close (and the magic used to effect Bellflower’s dagger) one would suppose that someone might come to the conclusion of other forces being at work. Worth a look.
Along with the continuation of Reynard‘s storyline in which Meghan discovers the truth about her new lover while on the run, Fairest #30 features multiple mysteries on the Farm where Clara and Wilfred are on the case to discover who stole one of the Glamours from the Pumpkin House before the lottery, why someone would vandalize the Beehive, and just how the two cases are connected.
Although Reynard’s storyline continues to sputter on following the series of misunderstandings that put the two on the run (foreshadowing another run-in between the fox and the woman’s family), the mystery involving the dragon in the form of a raven and a diminutive policeman delivers a far more interesting B-story in which the pair eventually narrow their suspect pool, connect both crimes, and arrest the Fable responsible.
Despite the fact that the theft is narrated from the culprit‘s point of view, Mark Buckingham makes the story work not revealing the truth (in proper mystery fashion) until the final pages of the issue. Worth a look.
Still unaware that the recently resurrected Bigby is being controlled by an outside force, the pair of Ozma (dressed like teen superhero) and Beast housed in the Big Damn Golden Armor) set out to stop him. Along with a giant castle appearing in the middle of Manhattan, the resulting chaos creates one of the funniest lines of the series as a New York cop exclaims “What in the bloody fuckhole of America is going on here?”
Despite magic and armor on their side both Beast and Ozma find defeating (or even slowing down) the wild Bigby impossible. Trying to fight the voice in his head, Bigby has no choice but to eventually murder both Fables continuing his bloody path straight to Fabletown and his wife.
With Bigby’s story in full swing the rest of Fabletown prepares for his arrival, as does Snow White who prepares to meet her husband for what might be the final time. Where Fairest seems to have lost its way a bit, Fables #144 provides a strong tale with an enjoyable back-up story offering the final fate of the Three Blind Mice. Worth a look.