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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Fables #125

With the cancelling of Hellblazer in order for it to be re-booted as a New 52 title, Fables was able to get the bump to become Vertigo's longest running (current) on-going title.  Writer Bill Willingham was possibly aware that such a distinction may cause new readers to latch on to Fables as #125 is easily the most accessible issue for new readers since the series began.

If you're new to the world of Fables, here is a very brief synopsis: Fairy tale characters have been forced to live in our world.  You may be thinking this sounds eerily similar to the plot of ABC's show Once Upon A Time, but such controversies are better delved into in other blog posts.

Issue 125 begins a brand new story arc titled "Snow White."  Though this issue mainly serves as a set-up for the rest of the arc, it seems the story will at least begin by being divided into two main segments: Bigby Wolf and Brock the badger (formerly Stinky) searching for Bigby's cubs, and Snow White dealing with the return of an important person from her past.  The former, while an important storytelling point, serves mostly as comedic relief.  As the arc moves on, the latter will obviously begin to take precedent, and the twist at the end is an interesting move on Willingham's part.

From the very beginning, many things happen that have been a long time coming in Fables, particularly the (human) Fables moving back to Fabletown in Manhattan.  For the past 30 odd issues, the site of Fabletown had been under the rule of Mister Dark.  The return to Fabletown seems to mark a new chapter in Fables as a somewhat return to form; something which is very exciting as it gives Willingham the chance to explore some characters that had largely been ignored since issue 100.

Another interesting aspect to this story is the re-introduction of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) into the main Fables book.  Having recently received her own arc in the spin-off comic Fairest, it was nice to get a preview of how the two books may be able to function together in the long run.

As previously mentioned, this is a great issue for new readers to jump on if they have never experienced the awesomeness that is Fables.  While some of the characters may be unfamiliar to new readers, the way they are brought about in this story helps to serve as an introduction of sorts.  One may have a few questions about the inner workings of the Fables universe, but it is nothing major (although I would greatly encourage eventually going back and starting the series from the beginning).

Artistically, Fables #125 is on par with any of the other issues done by Buckingham/Leialoha over the years.  It may interest new readers to note that Fables has consistently had the same writer and artists since it began in 2003 (occasional guest issues aside).  Therefore, Buckingham's art is the standard all other Fables artists are held to.

Fables #125 is a return to form in many ways, but darkness lurks ahead.  This comic may deal with fairy tale characters, but if "Cubs in Toyland" taught us anything it is that endings are seldom happy.  With that in mind, "Snow White" could either be just a time for great character development, or a turning point that irrevocably changes the Fables world as we know it.  Only time will tell.

Rating: A

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