PurplyCookie's Reviews > Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love

Fables, Vol. 3 by Bill Willingham
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Apr 24, 09

bookshelves: graphic-novel, mythic-fiction, comics-series, fantasy, fairy-tale
Read in June, 2008

This volume collects Issues #11-18, including the 4-part "Storybook Love." Also included are the 2-part "A Sharp Operator" and the single-issue tales "Bag o' Bones" and "Barleycorn Brides." Unlike in the first two volumes of Fables, there is no single story arc in this one. Instead we get four tales of different lengths that help flesh out the characters for us.

"Bag o' Bones" is a set of stories adapted and taken from the Mountain Jack Tales of American folklore. Jack of the Tales is the main character and the rogue as he always was and continues to be, he thought of taking advantage of the American Civil War so he may marry himself off to a rich Southern belle by first earning renown in battle. When it became obvious that the South has lost, Jack winds up having adventures involving Nick Slick (the Devil), Death, and a beautiful cursed Southern Belle.

In "A Two-Part Caper" Tommy Sharp, a writer for the Daily News somehow got wind that there was something unusual about the Fabletown community and spent several years following it up. He tracked down records detailing the Fables' possession of the area right back to when the city was called New Amsterdam; compiled a number of personal histories and located photographs of several of the Fabletown residents going back to the beginnings of photography, proving that none of them had aged a day. He also secretly trailed Bigby Wolf--a not unimpressive feat--given the Wolf's massively enhanced senses and witnessed him changing to his wolf form in Central Park. Prior to publishing, he came to Fabletown and asked to speak to Bigby, with the aim of giving the Fables a chance to respond as a journalistic courtesy. Explaining to a visibly amused sheriff that he believed them to be vampires, Sharp stated that he would shortly be publishing his story. Bigby, with the help of Briar Rose (more popularly known as Sleeping Beauty), Bluebeard, Flycatcher (the Frog Prince), Prince Charming and Boy Blue, makes a late night raid to ensure their secret is kept. The story also gives us a glimpse of the coward that Bluebeard really is, as exposed via the verbal taunting of Bigby. No wonder the former then plotted for the Wolf’s demise.

In "Storybook Love", the longest story in the collection, Bigby and Snow become targets and are removed from Fabletown. Bluebeard magically hypnotizes the pair and sends them off on a camping trip out in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains from which he thinks they will never return. After they wake up, they soon are running for their lives from Goldilocks, who seems to have a vendetta against Snow White. We are treated to a sample of Bigby’s power as a Wolf from all the legends (the most popular being the one who huffed & puffed down The Three Little Pigs’ homes and who tried to end Red Riding Hood’s life) and an idea of his lineage. The story ends with two great twists: one of which involves Snow White beginning to shed her image of an ice queen, as for the other, it’s much better to let the next volume tell the story in detail. I’m already rooting for a happily-ever-after for Bigby & Snow White (blame the romantic in me). The story also provides an introduction to the Mouse Police and the rare occurrences of noble urges on the part of Prince Charming.

Finally, in "Barleycorn Brides," Bigby tells Flycatcher the story of Smalltown, a community at The Farm. It was founded by the Lilliputian army (Lilliputians are of course the tiny people from “Gulliver's Travels”) after they escaped from the Adversary's armies in the Homelands. Since the army was made up of only men, they immediately realized that they had a problem; without women their size, they couldn't procreate or find love. A brave Lilliputian by the name of Johnny Bullhorn and Arrow, a bird commander of the Air Patrol, go on an adventure back to the Homelands to solve the problem and fetch the barleycorns from whence Thumbelina herself sprung from.


Book Details:

Title Vol. 3: Fables: Storybook Love
Author Bill Willingham
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my review Danielle! :)


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