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Fables #17

Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2003
By: Cody Dolan



“Roadrunner and Coyote Ugly”

Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham (p), Steve Leialoha (i)

Publisher: DC Vertigo

Could someone please tell me what the deal is with Bigby Wolf’s mouth? One minute it’s there, the next there’s just a place on his face devoid of hair. In fact, Bigby’s face as a whole is so inconsistent that it drops this issue from five bullets to four. That’s a shame, too because Mark Buckingham continues his strong work with this issue by paying attention to the smallest details. His panel construction is wonderfully creative, and he’s equally adept at drawing a tender moment between Snow White and Bigby and the gruesome “death” of Goldilocks. His deceptively simple style is perfect for a book about characters from the morality-teaching fairy tales most of us grew up with. I don’t think the artist gets enough credit for his work on Fables, and that’s an injustice that needs to be corrected.

In many ways this issue is the perfect ending to an engaging story arc. It wraps up all the major plot points of the four-part tale while expertly setting the stage many stories to come. Willingham reminds us that those who were fooled into thinking Prince Charming had altruistic intentions when he killed Bluebeard last issue should’ve known better as his true nature is revealed and I’m beginning to think the Fables were better off with the pirate around. His motivation for killing Bluebeard is perfectly logical given his characterization so far, but I was surprised at the lengths he was willing to go to achieve his goals. I’ll be interested to see if his plan pans out, even though it reminds me a little too much of the “President Lex” aspect of the regular DC Universe.

The truth behind Bigby and Snow’s time in the woods is also revealed, and I’m not sure how this will pan out. Willingham has worked to create a link between the Fables’ lives and the way the Mundies perceive them, so I’m not sure there’s room for what transpires in Snow’s mythos. Beyond that, I was a little distressed to see that the improving relationship between the campers is once again strained. I can’t help but like Bigby, and to see the object of his desire (Snow White, for those not keeping up) run so hot and cold frustrates me. I know romantic tension is a good thing, but I feel sorry for the poor guy (especially since he has no mouth).

As I’ve said before, Fables is one of those books I look forward to every month and it’s because of strong stories like “Storybook Love” that I hope this book sticks around for a long time. We’ve gotten to see Snow White evolve from desk jockey to woman-of-action (that’s not something I ever thought I’d write), the gruff Bigby Wolf soften a bit, and the devious Prince Charming sink lower than I thought possible. Hopefully Willingham will give that same attention to more of the rather large supporting cast in the future.



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