"The Dark, Killing Winter"
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham (p), Steve Leialoha (i)
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
As the Fable community begins making noise over the fact that Prince Charming hasn't kept any of him election promises, we see Beauty and the Beast are adjusting to their new positions, and while Beauty looks to be buckling under the pressure, the Beast seems to be settling into the role of sheriff quite nicely. As the Beast's first case involves the mysterious death of a Fable, we look in on the Farm where we see the place receives an unexpected visitor.
In effect this series has pretty much swapped out its entire main cast, as while Snow is still an active part of the book, the real meat and potatoes plot developments centre around the characters who have taken over the position of power in the Fables community. I mean how can one not love the direction that the Prince Charming plot has taken, as it's perfectly in character that once he had gotten a hold of the objection of his affection, his attentions would turn to another, though one does get the underlying sense that his interest in the mayor position was largely driven by his pursuit of Bluebeard's fortune. There's also a great little moment involving Beauty as she openly wonders how Snow managed to perform her job so effectively, and the flying monkey offers up a genuinely amusing response to her "rhetorical question". The scenes that revolve around the Beast are also quite engaging, as we see he's actually quite well suited to his new position in the community, and while the first case the has dropped in his lap looks like it's beyond his ability to solve, it'll be quite interesting to see how he deals with the situation. As for the subplot that involves Snow and her children getting a visit from Bigby's father, there's a couple genuinely compelling ideas introduced starting with the revelation that Mister North continues to live in the Homelands, seemingly untouched by the Adversary. One also has to wonder why Bigby has taken to hiding from his father.
Mark Buckingham remains a welcome addition to this title, and while he's been on the title for long enough that I really should embrace the idea that he's the book's regular artist, I have to say part of me is convinced that once I get used to the idea that this book has itself the ideal artist, I'll be treated to the news story about his impending departure. Still, my fingers are crossed that everyone involved in this title recognizes how much Mark Buckingham brings to this book, as in addition to bringing a clean style that does a great job of detailing the material, one also has to love the extra attention to detail, as his page designs are one of the more endearing elements that he brings to the title. The art also does some lovely work on the big impact moments, from the scene where a member of the Fable community is murdered, to the great little sequence where we see Flycatcher deals with the idea that he's been freed from his continual community service duties.
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