Saturday, September 17, 2005

FABLES #41

While there were a few sneaky turns here, the final installment of Homelands felt a little rushed and abruptly ended.

Considering that most of the last two issues have been expository -- and most of those with Boy Blue in a birdcage -- Bill Willingham has been unusually deft (okay, so I'm apparently still smarting from Batman #644) in handling it. How the Adversary's empire was built and solidified, how to naturally explain Willingham's planned shift toward a more global scope of fables, and the introduction of a possibly important plot twist in Fabletown (the real Red Riding Hood after Baba Yaga's deception) have all been given lucid, reasonable purpose. Gepetto's slide from well-intentioned puppeteer to coldly efficient king maker has been a joy to read because it's completely logical and seamless. Especially when compared to Boy Blue's story arc, which depends fairly heavily on having read The Last Castle for it not to feel a little random.

The end, however, felt a little too neat. The reveal of Blue's mission being a covertly sanctioned one works well enough -- he is the sort of hardened veteran warrior who can handle the danger of the mission and the burden of returning to a world that doesn't understand it. It was just the returning part that bothered me. Blue's been doing nifty stuff with the cape and the sword all along, but his escape just felt too easily accomplished considering that he's in the den of the Adversary himself. Snicker-snack and home again, even if he left a very angry Gepetto behind... I didn't care for it.

Too-clean resolution aside, Homelands stands as one of the strongest Fables arcs in a while and gives fresh enthusiasm for what comes next. The trade paperback is out around Christmas, I think.




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