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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Review: Fables #17 and #18

I was so disappointed with Fables #16 that I didn't bother reading the books at all last year. I finally picked up Inherit the Wind and Cubs in Toyland this year and read them through in a couple of nights. This part of the story involves Snow White and Bigby Wolf's family. They grapple with the loss of the North Wind and the selection of the future god of winds from the young wolflings.

Inherit the Wind is easily one of the weakest volumes in the series thus far. There's a lot of distraction, and the graphic novel tries to set up yet another long-running plotline as part of the side story, leading to the main story suffering from both neglect and no small amount of ennui.

Cubs in Toyland is a much stronger work. We see the fate of two of the Bigby's Scions, as they grapple with being transported to a fantastic new world with a hidden, deadly secret. The problem with the resolution of this story is that while it's shocking, it's impact is mostly on characters we're not invested in, so that dilutes the impact. The story is also a bit derivative, with the newness focused on the world Willingham's created just for this story, and the world is too simple for us to also derive much satisfaction from it.

The volume closes with a final story about Bigby Wolf, which does bring back Willingham's original story telling powers. It's a great short story, and I wish the rest of the work was like it. If not for this last section, I would have said that Willingham should have ended the series with the end of the first arc. Recommended, but only for people who have read the rest of the series. Otherwise, start at the beginning.

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