Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham, Tony Atkins, Jimmy Palmiotti and Steve Leialoha (artists), Todd Klein (letterer), Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons (Vertigo 2005)
Another loan from one of my generous sons.
In Volume 3, Snow White got pregnant to Bigby Wolf in an encounter that embarrassed them both. In Volume 4, while the pregnancy progressed, Fabletown fought off an attack from the fairytale Homelands and endured a campaign by Prince Charming to become mayor. In this volume, Snow White gives birth, and our suspense about the species of her issue is resolved – eventually. The captured invaders from the Homelands are being interrogated in secret dungeons without noticeable benefit. Prince Charming wins the election, with not very happy results, so that by the end of this issue he is planning to go to war, always a good plan for an incompetent government to keep the electorate onside.
That’s how the main story arc develops. There’s also a two-part war story and a one-off in which Cinderella is a spy. As a ten-year-old I thought there must be something wrong with me that I didn’t enjoy war comics, but now, well, a war story is a war story is a war story, even if it incorporates a battle between a giant wolf and a Frankenstein’s monster, and I don’t mind who knows that’s how I see it. The Cinderella tale feels like a sleeper – there are plenty more volumes in which her role as spy can blossom.
Apart from the truly lovely invention (no spoilers here) of Snow White’s offspring and Bigby’s father, there’s not a lot to get excited about in this instalment, but the series will go on being a reliable source of Christmas and birthday gifts in this family for a while yet.
Hard to know what I think Jonathan – my head is being screwed with – names and resonances being turned inside-out and upside-down. But it’s not totally unpleasant being taken through this mirror world!
Jim, the interesting thing is that by Volume 5 the screw-with-your-mind quality is much less, and the characters are interestin gin their own right. (Though there was an odd detail in an episode involving Ichabod Crane that sent me to look up The Headless Horseman – and when I did I got the joke.)