Plot: The people of Fabletown thought that after the Adversary was defeated they would be carefree. They now find that there are repercussions from overthrowing an empire. Meanwhile, a new dark force is about to be released in one of the recently freed worlds.
Comments: Once again, Willingham has struck an even balance within his plot in regards to the macrocosm and the microcosm of the Fables universe. He shows how the Fable's world is affected by the Adversary's defeat as well as focusing in on individual characters. In regards to the characters, there is very little we haven't seen before: Beauty and the Beast have to deal with difficult citizens of Fabletown, Boy Blue is in mortal peril, and Rose Red has found another man to satisfy her. Although this is slightly disappointing.
Willingham threw in two new characters to make things a little more interesting. Freddy and Mouse, from the world of Tiabrut, are mercenaries on the lookout for riches in the recently defeated Empire. These two characters shed some much needed light on how the recently freed Fable worlds are getting along.
Willingham has also included a few new conflicts. First there is the Society of Seconds. They are Fables who were born in the Mundane world and now want a piece of the recently freed Fable land. Next there is Rose Red's new secret relationship with Sinbad. Odds are Boy Blue will find out about it and a huge conflict will result. It's a common theme in Fables that Rose Red's relationships always cause bigger problems. The last major conflict that occurred was the opening of the strange box by Freddy and Mouse in the treasure room. Once they cut the chains, the box was opened within by something with a pale white hand. Based upon the two characters' frightened expressions, it's bound to be something unpleasant.
The second part of the book, Homeland Recovery, is so lacking in content that it almost seems unnecessary. I suppose that it's going to connect to the greater picture in some way, but I feel like it could have been more interesting. It feels more like filler than the first part of a five part story. There should have been more substance to this last part. It didn't do much for me at the end of the book.
Overall, the art of this issue of Fables is quite good. The colors are vivid and the characters jump off of the page. The only odd thing I found was in the scene with Beauty and the Beast. In one panel, Beast is wearing a black short sleeve shirt. In the next panel, he is wearing a black muscle shirt. It jumps back and forth like this for a few panels. Other than that minor detail, the artwork flows beautifully and grants a great pace for the book.
Final Word: For readers of Fables, this issue is everything you've come to expect from Bill Willingham. The writing and artwork are on par with the previous issues. For those people who have never read Fables before, I would recommend you don't start with this issue. This book would be plain confusing for you. If you read Fables this is a definite buy, otherwise I'd stay away.
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