Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fables #108

Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha

There have been a couple of moments where I've wondered if Fables should continue.  When the Adversary was defeated, I wondered if there was much point in the series moving forward without an established antagonist.  Then Mr. Dark came along, who was a weak replacement at first, but ended up very effectively shaking up the status quo, driving everyone out of Fabletown and then the Farm.  When he was vanquished a couple of issues ago, I wondered again if it may not be time for Vertigo's second longest-running series to fold.

With this issue it finally became clear to me that plot really has become secondary in this series.  Like a good soap opera (if those actually exist; I've never watched one, but they seem popular), it's investment in the characters that drive this series forward.

In this issue, Rose Red returns with a small group to sweep the Farm for traps, while Nurse Spratt plans for the eventual return of her enemies to Fabletown.  We check in again with Blufkin and his new friends, as they try to make their way across hostile territory in Ev (is that the cat from the latest Cinderella series?).  The heart of this issue lies in the North Wind's castle, as it becomes clear that one of Snow White and Bigby's children will have to replace their grandfather.  These scenes are amusing and touching, as we see a side of Bigby that is not often shown.

So what I've learned from this issue is that, after so many years, I really like the characters in this comic, and am perfectly happy if it meanders a while, so long as Willingham keeps such strong characterizations afloat.  Also, I'm not sure what was going on with the art this issue, but Buckingham and Leialoha look better than ever.  I suspect it's the new approach to colouring that Lee Loughridge uses here, with more of a watercolour washed effect on the background, and it looks great.

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