September 4, 2010

Retro Review: Fables #75: Happily Ever After?

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Written by: Andy
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Fables #75
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham
Publisher: Vertigo
Release date: September 2008

So sometimes here at we do a totally random review of a slightly older comic. This time around we’re going to take a look at Fables #75 from almost exactly 2 years ago:

It all comes down to this.

After 74 issues of riveting continuity the most anticipated moment for Fables fans has finally come; the showdown between the citizens of Fabletown and the dreaded army of the Emperor and the Adversary. Fables #75 is fast paced and packed with action as the eagerly awaited story changing battle finally takes place.

Brief plot synopsis:

Commandeered by Prince Charming and Sinbad, The Glory of Baghdad, Fabletown’s flying bomber, is nearly completed with it’s mission of destroying the Adversary’s gates which connect the Homelands with the Mundy World. The use of modern weapons by the Fables has had a devastating impact on the enemy, as armor and arrows are no match for mortars and machine guns. Despite having their backs to the wall, the Emperor and his evil forces have one final plan for victory, and Bigby Wolf’s team (assigned with guarding the last beanstalk to the Cloud Kingdoms) has everything to do with it…

Some thoughts on the issue:

-As expected, writer Bill Willingham creates an engaging story. Everything is meticulously planned out and it shows. The characters he has created throughout the run are original individuals, and it is easy to get connected to any number of them. I do have some beef with him however, as this issue felt very rushed. It seemed like Willingham was trying to cram in everything necessary in order to conclude this major story arc of the series. As a result, the pacing was quick and it cheapened the death of one of Fabletown’s major players in that not enough time was given to deal with the repercussions. Make no doubt about it, I am sad to see this character go, and the way they bite the dust is a fitting tribute to such a likable character.

-Mark Buckingham’s art looks great in this issue. He has been consistently impressive his entire run on Fables, and with this being a landmark issue, he delivers. While his battle scenes are vivid and detailed, the layout of the book doesn’t compliment them very well. This is no fault of Buckingham’s, but the layout is mostly vertical panels which makes for a narrow plane of viewing for the reader. I would have preferred more wide shots in order to depict the battle in a clearer way, showcasing the full extent of Buckingham’s work.

-Prince Charming and Sinbad’s relationship is highly entertaining. The two are basically the same guy, just from a different land.

-One of the Emperor’s men is named ‘General Petrus,’ and as I am not familiar with this character as a ‘fable’, I wonder if it is a political jab by Willingham as the name is similar to ‘Petraeus’… unless he was referring to the South African military Commander from the ’50s and ’60s.

-Boy Blue continues his job as narrator as he guides the reader throughout the story. Blue fans will be pleased to know they will have something to smile about once the issue is over… Snicker-Snack!

-Only in Fables will you see a deer charging into battle with two rabbits riding atop her firing uzi’s. This book is awesome.

Some one liners:

“But just in case things don’t go–you know… in that case tell every woman I’ve ever known it was her in my last thoughts. That should keep you busy for a few years at least.” – Prince Charming

“Howl winds and blow! Scatter my army as you will, but you will never move me!” – The Emperor

The final word:

There is so much I want to say on this issue but the need to keep the review spoiler free takes precedent, so I’ll refrain myself. Just know that while it is typical for a Vertigo series to end it’s run somewhere around issue #75, Fables is going to continue (thankfully!) but the title will definitely not be the same. The end leaves you with no idea as to what is coming next, and that makes for an exciting read all around. If you’re new to Fables and want to start reading the series, issue #76 may prove to be a great jumping on point. Even so, I highly recommend beginning at the beginning with the first trade. You won’t be disappointed.

In hindsight:

Two years later I can honestly say that this may have been the last great Fables story arc to date. Everything that has come after it (we’re on issue #97) pales in comparison to this final battle between The Adversary and the Fables of Fabletown. The stakes just don’t seem as high anymore, and the villain, Mr. Dark, is constantly being pushed to the background, whereas The Adversary was always in the forefront of the story. Don’t get me wrong, Fables is still a great series, and this current story featuring some history between Snow White and Rose Red has provided a glimmer of what Fables once was. The most recent issue especially felt like the Fables of old. Apparently, something big is planned for #100; I just hope it brings back that gusto we all love to relish in this series.

Andy Liegl


One Comment

  1. Billy

    Lots of titles have ups and downs (just about all of them to be honest). Hopefully Fables will bring the “A” game for #100 and beyond!

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