PurplyCookie's Reviews > Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons

Fables, Vol. 5 by Bill Willingham
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Apr 24, 09

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

The fifth collected edition of "Fables" is a much more subdued affair after the last one. It contains several shorter stories that advance many of the overall plot lines lingering about Fabletown.

Two shorter pieces show Bigby Wolf on a secret mission as a spy for the Allies during World War II titled “War Stories” and introduces us to the Frankenstein monster of the same story title. Even if the Fables have no loyalties to the mundanes, essentially, it's their world too, and worth keeping livable from any invaders.

In “Cinderella Libertine” we get an idea of how important an asset she is to the inner workings of the Fabletown government. As the third and last wife of Prince Charming, she has her yearly get-together with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty—both having no idea as to Cindy’s work as an off-the-books spy for Bigby. Cinderella is shown here entrapping a Fable who is collaborating with the Adversary and very much ready to betray Fabletown for the standard treason trifecta: money, sex and power. She must have guts of steel to enable her to see the successful completion of that particular mission.

The title story here depicts the year after the attack. As suggested by the title, it is the seasons that track the movement of the Fables’ lives.

Summer sees the birth of Deputy Mayor Snow White's sextuplets (the father is Bigby whom, under the laws of the Fabletown compact, isn’t allowed to set foot on The Farm). I was so amused when Snow White, assisted by Dr. Swineheart during her childbirth, became pissed off to learn that “A litter? I’m giving birth to a litter?” In addition to her six cubs not being only a mix of human and wolf, they seem to be exhibiting flying abilities as well…

Fall centers on Prince Charming's landslide victory as the newly elected Mayor of Fabletown; as well as the immediate evacuation of King Cole (as he wallows in self-pity) from his penthouse suite. He assigns Beauty and Beast to take over the posts left by Snow White (since there’s no way she’d work for her former husband, plus she has to move to The Farm owing to the non-human appearance of her children/cubs) and Bigby (he decided to depart for parts unknown in order to grieve properly of having lost Snow and his cubs to the rules which he himself have been implementing for centuries.)

Winter, dreary season as it is, reflects the bad decisions by the new administration—with the human looking Fables demand that their “charming” liar of a mayor start honoring his promises of providing glamour spells to the non-human looking Fables from The Farm in an effort to stem off any possible revolt in the future. Prince Charming learns that actually governing a city requires a lot more than charm.

And Spring brings in plans to counterattack the Adversary, for details on that, we have to wait for the next trade paperback in this series. Oh, and Boy Blue has taken the Witching Cloak, the Vorpal Sword and the wooden body of Pinocchio, presumably to the lands of the Adversary in order to bargain for the freedom of his lost love Red Riding Hood.

Lastly, more secrets are revealed, such as Gundrun, the goose that lays the golden eggs, who is secreted away deep in the hidden dungeons and who willingly helps fund the espionage work of Bigby and Beast with her eggs. Add to the mix the invisible spirit that has been killing off Fables (both from Fabletown and up on The Farm). I got teary eyed towards the end; it seems to me that it’s mostly Snow White’s heart that’s being broken again and again in this story arc.

Bigby asked her to make a decision: he proposed that they could always go somewhere out in the world where they could raise their cubs without any interference from any Fable or Mundy, but Snow White refused, stating that she could never betray Fabletown that way. Bigby leaves for the unknown, with the words, "For all your your griping about how ill-used you were, you still cling to your fantasies of castles and princes. Where dogs know their place--in the kennels."


Book Details:

Title Vol. 5: Fables: The Mean Seasons
Author Bill Willingham
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my book review, Lady Danielle! :)


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