What They Said
Don't miss the special holiday issue – and because you've been good all year, it's even got extra story pages! Christmas is here, and we know this holiday isn't always jolly for our favorite Fables. In this issue we get a glimpse into the future fates of our wild and dear Rose Red.
What I Say
Its Christmas time for our plucky expatriated Fabletown residents, and they've received the greatest gift of all, a chance to go home.With the threat of Mr. Dark finally put aside, the Fables have returned to the upstate farm and are making plans for retaking their old residency in Manhattan. But before they move out they are taking a breather to celebrate the holidays. The Wolf family are also taking a break from the trials of choosing a new North Wind to spend possibly their last Christmas as a whole family. Meanwhile, Rose Red has an unexpected guest and goes on a Christmas adventure to see he possibly future as one of the newest Agents of Hope.
Over at DC proper right now, with their new 52 relaunch initiative there are a handful of titles priced at 3.99. Almost to a one they all feel lightweight and over priced. Some have back-ups, but some don't! 3.99 for 20/22 pages of story? What kind of insane madness has taken hold over there? This special issue of Fables is priced at 3.99 too. But that's okay because you actually get 30 pages of story. And not split over back-ups, but the actually meat and potatoes of the book. Reading this issue is satisfying. Its chunky and you really feel like you get your value out of it by the end. Remember issue 100? And how it cost 10 bucks for 100 pages? That was another really good deal too. Fables is nothing if not a really good value for your money. Stuff happens between its pages.
As to the story itself, I must admit I must have missed something along the way, because I was feeling a little clueless about Rose Red and her 'Agent of Hope' role. The fact that I don't recall the exact events that lead to this new chapter in her life is concerning. But regardless its certainly a change for the character, and its really interesting considering the character's storied history over the course of the book. The characters she meets on her journey, and what she learns about what it means to be an Agent of Hope is powerful stuff that's sure to shape her character and her fate for years to come. And yet, even with all this heavy life changing character stuff, there's still time for lighthearted humor and classic character interaction. Fables is nothing if not an ensemble book with many voices.
Mark Buckingham has always been a great artist, and his long run on this title has been nothing if not exemplary. That being said, a few things have been bugging me lately. First of all, the coloring just doesn't seem as eye popping as it once was (and lately I've been rereading the series in Deluxe Oversized Hardcover, and this change in coloring feels much more pronounced to me). And second of all the boarders. For those that don't know, for a very long time now pretty much everything Buckingham draws is constrained in a pair of static boarding images that often change with the portion of the story we're reading. For the most part its a very neat device for conveying the story's tone while we're reading. But lately I've just feeling like the boarders are compressing the art. There are no full-bleeds in Fables, panels are 'trapped' between these art boarders, and it makes things feel small and cramped sometimes. Full-page splashes are just end up being big panels, regular pages feel like they are losing valuable page real estate for more 'stuff'. The thing is, this has largely always been the case, but for some reason it been feeling more pronounced to me since issue 100. I'm honestly not sure why, but there you go.
I know it sounds like I'm bagging on a good thing, make no mistake Fables is one of my top titles every month. I'm not sure what I'd do without this contemporary fantasy stalwart on my pull list. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.