PurplyCookie's Reviews > Fables: Homelands

Fables by Bill Willingham
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Apr 24, 09

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

Many subplots from previous volumes have been wrapped up, but plenty of new ones are spawned in this trade paperback collection.

“Jack Be Nimble” is a cute satire of contemporary Hollywood, starring Jack Horner, (of the Beanstalk, of the giant-killing and of many other stories), portrayed as a rather eternally unsavory trickster. Making his way to Hollywood with a fistful of cash, he becomes a wildly successful producer of films based on his own mythological exploits. Eventually, though, his ruthless business practices and unsavory past catch up with him—until he incurs the wrath of a woman scorned, and discovers just how much wrath can be packed in even a diminutive woman. He was never mentioned in the Fables series after this, since Willingham created a spin-off series based on his character (check out “Jack of Fables” series).

The main story arc (“Homelands”) follows the quest of Boy Blue-- the nerdy, trumpet-playing office clerk is really a man of cunning, brilliance, conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. His primary motives are loyalty and love to the people closest to him. For this he risks his life in returning to the Adversary's empire, leaving Fabletown--after “borrowing” the Witching Cloak, the Vorpal Blade (from Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem "Jabberwocky"), and his best friends Pinocchio's wooden body.

Armed with the now-known full capabilities of the Witching Cloak (it provided impregnable armor; could not be burnt, stretched or ripped; provided endless personal carrying capacity; and allowed a large degree of shape-shifting), Blue cut a swath of destruction across the Homelands. He killed thousands of soldiers, killed and impersonated multiple governors (always ordering his underlings to lower tax rates), slew a dragon through cleverness and guile, and defeated the three demigod Knights of the Rus (Bright Day, Radiant Sun and Dark Night), who rank among the most formidable warriors in the Empire. The knights were magically connected to Baba Yaga; the fact that their decapitated heads kept talking alerted Blue to the fact that she was still alive and a prisoner of Fabletown.

Blue’s mission is to find Gepetto and see if he can fix Pinocchio (and reunite father and son); and for himself to be reunited with his lost love: Red Riding Hood. The reader then gets an idea of how vast the conquered lands of the Adversary is, and who’s who in the ruling elite: starting with the commander of the Emperor's personal guard: the Snow Queen herself.

Finally, the identity of the Adversary is revealed! My suspicion of who he really is was right on the mark! And while the revelation of the Adversary's identity might seem like the beginning of the end of the series, it is really a catalyst for many more stories to come. The next major story arc is alluded to when the Adversary states that after countless centuries, he has just finished conquering the lands of European Fables, and is prepared to begin enslaving the Arabian Fables. Also, now that his identity is known, the Fabletown Fables may try to strike back, or he may try to make another attempt at enslaving Fabletown.

Unbeknownst to the Fabletown community (which thought Blue had stolen its valuable magical devices), Blue had been on a mission from Prince Charming. In addition to its other properties, the Witching Cloak had infinite storage space. Blue emptied every library in the Homelands, bringing Fabletown hundreds of volumes of intelligence. Unfortunately, this could not be made public, so Blue had to stand trial.

In the “Meanwhile” issue, we return to The Farm, where Mowgli (of the “Jungle Book” stories) has come back from Baghdad to try to spring Bagheera from jail. He’s a "tourist," i.e., undercover secret agent working abroad, one of the three recruited by Bigby years ago. He manages to learn of Shere Khan’s death and catches up on good times with Baloo the Bear. Also, a traitor is exposed. That was quite unexpected indeed!


Book Details:

Title Vol. 6: Fables: Homelands
Author Bill Willingham
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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