Rebecca’s #CBR4 Review #39: Fables vol. 5-6
Fables is definitely my favorite of the comic series I have started this year, in my attempt to remedy my biggest pop culture blindspot: comics. I have also checked out The Boys, Transmetropolitan, and The Walking Dead, as well as graphic novels Blankets and Maus. The series have their own particular problems, which fans of other serialized mediums will also recognize as frequent stumbling blocks – mainly, how do the creators keep the conflicts of the series fresh without rehashing the same old ones? How do the characters grow in interesting ways without becoming so different they are not the same characters the reader grew to love?
Fables seems to be able to find a balance between the two extremes – changing too quickly so that the premise of the story becomes obsolete, or stagnating – mostly because it can tell so many stories. Snow White and Bigby (the big bad wolf) can fall in love, and they can be kept apart for awhile by partly their own circumstances, and partly their own decisions, because the creators can sow the seeds of other relationships that may become as meaningful. It sidesteps the usual pitfall of sitcom couplings – a couple is obviously going to be together, but ridiculous contrivances keep them apart – by keeping the other storylines in play.
In The Mean Seasons, Snow gives birth to six babies that cannot pass for human, so they are exiled to the farm. Bigby isn’t allowed at the farm, so he cannot be around his children and leaves Fabletown. She seems broken and fragile, and he is wounded and feels he has no choice to retreat. Homelands picks up the larger storyline of the series more thoroughly, as Bigby is hunted down by Mowgli to perform a mission. He infiltrates the homelands of the fables to either start a war or end one, as he puts it, and in the process discovers the identity of the adversary.
By creating interesting personal stories of the fables – in past and present this series manages to make the larger storyline – a seemingly all-powerful adversary who wants to destroy them – seem threatening and imminent, but keep it at a slow burn. It’s a masterful use of pacing to tell a story, and I am hooked.