Fables (Vol 13): “The Great Fables Crossover” by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
My first biggest problem with this storyline is my complete and utter dislike of Jack Horner. Jack isn’t written as a likable guy, and he’s definitely portrayed as a con-man who’d sell his own mother and sleep with his half-sisters. (Which he did the latter.) However, the text continually lets him walk away without any punishment or responsibility for his actions. Okay, Bigby beats him up; but what does that really teach him?
Usually characters like Jack follow some redemptive path, but Jack hasn’t changed since the first issue of Fables. Which is exactly why I don’t read his spin-off, and I was, in general, pretty happy for his departure from the main title. Of course, Jack wasn’t my only dislike with this story.
I have little patience for the meta of a story-writer. Stories by writers writing about writing rarely endear themselves to me. Kevin Thorn was never really a bad guy. He was the writers with a universe they’d created, the characters they’d created, and no ideas left. That much was obvious when Kevin gathered the Genres, Sam(bo), and Hansel for inspiration. As was Willingham and Sturges’ arrogance when they declared all genres trite — and put this story outside the genres and their tired nature. Almost every writer wants to break away from the Genres and would bludgeon his/her Writer’s Block to death if they could. I was so disappointed the story went this way considering how much I’d enjoyed the tying up of the war. I felt that instead of saying “what big evil must all Fables defeat together?,” the writers should’ve gone back to the roots of their storytelling, telling small stories about the characters.
My last beef with this story was Rose Red. I get that she’s upset and depressed about Boy Blue’s death. However, with letting Jack back into her life, her entire existence once again becomes solely about the men in her life. Rose Red falls back to how she started. Clearly, there’s plans for more, but I hope she becomes her own person again.
Now for what I did like: I did like the Page Sisters once they decided to kick Kevin’s ass. Obviously, like any Fables‘ story, Bigby ends up as the hero in the end, but the Page Sisters did a pretty good job as a distraction. Not to mention, they beat Bigby and company to Kevin’s hideout. They also caught action unlike Gary and Mr. Revise. I hope they show up in the books again as more than arm-candy for the Jacks.
Bigby turned into a little girl was actually far more entertaining than I thought it was going to be. The key was Snow White never saying a thing, beyond that they’d fix it. She barely flinched. Which was so Snow White. I’m also hoping she gets more action now that the Cubs are old enough to be babysat by others for extended periods of time.
I loved the scene where Bigby massacred the Genres as a cute little girl. Since they’re immortal, the excess violence plays out graphically humorous instead of horrific. And of course, he turns back into the wolf at that point.
Beauty and the Beast were likewise awesome in this. More-so than they were in Fabletown. I loved Beauty’s line about being shocked during her morning eggs and Chicken Little saying she shouldn’t be eating the poultry unborn.
Was I the only one who was surprised that Jack Horner was actually Jack Frost’s father and they didn’t do a switcheroo at the end to have it be Bigby?
In many ways, I felt Fables Vol 13 had lots of quipy one-liners that moved the story along and entertained me, while having a weak, trite writer’s meta plot. Disappointing because I didn’t find anything “Great” about it, but not failing enough that I won’t read the next volume. This just wasn’t my favorite volume, but it wasn’t the worst.