Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham (p), Steve Leialoha (i)
The book open with Rose Red making her switch over to the other side official as she gets herself armed to the teeth, and joins in on the hunt for her sister. We then see the first sign that there is a serious problem on the Farm makes its way back to the Fable community in the City, as Cock Robin who had been sent in with a message is killed, and the spell that had been placed on the tiny messenger alerts the city dwellers of his fate. We then join Snow White & Reynard the Fox as the two are making their way across the Farm lands, and we see Reynard shows Snow a weapon that he discovered, that has been designed for use by an animal. We then see Snow is forced to flee when Shere Khan the Tiger arrives, and while Reynard acts to delay the creature, Snow attempts to reach the safety of a cave, that is halfway up a nearby cliff face. However, part way up Snow finds Shere Khan is nipping at her heels, but when push comes to shove an angry Snow with a loaded gun proves to be more than a match for Shere Khan. After she manages to collect herself, we see Snow's attention is drawn to the cave she was attempting to reach, where inside she discovers Weyland Smith, the former overseer of the Farm, who looks to be held captive.
This issue really picks up the pace of this story as we open with Red Rose having actively joined the rebellion, and in a highly entertaining sequence we see Snow White attempts to make it to safety. Now Red Rose's defection to the other side isn't a complete surprise as she looks like the type of character who would turn left when the rest of the crowd was going right, and I imagine a large part of her behavior is dictated by how annoyed her sister would be upon learning what she had done. Still the impending conflict between Red Rose & Snow White should prove to be the most interesting part of the final issues. As for the extended escape sequence that makes up Snow White's section of the issue, I have to say that Reynard the Fox has himself a hilarious little sequence as we see him draw upon some gossip that has been making it's way around the Farm, that leads him to believe Snow would be receptive to his dubious charms. This sequence also has itself one of the more harrowing sequences that Bill Willingham has delivered up to this point, as Snow has herself a run-in with Shere Khan. This is a very exciting encounter, and the ensuing page does a wonderful job showing us the rigors of this scene have made an emotional wreck out of Snow.
Along with the increased forward momentum, this issue also has itself some fairly solid shocking moments, as we see there are two, possibly three deaths in this issue of various Fable characters, which when one takes into consideration with the death of one of the Three Little Pigs in the opening issue, has made this arc a great deal more serious in tone than the opening story. Now there might be some unseen rule that would reverse these deaths, as I am curious as to how certain characters like the Big Bad Wolf managed to survive the deaths that looked to suffer in the original stories. However, the deaths we get in this arc look quite irreversible, as Colin the Pig had is head cut off, while poor little Cock Robin looks to have become the lunch of predatory bird. As for the other two deaths that I made mention of, I'm not quite sure that Reynard is dead, as we never get a panel that shows his body, so all we have is Shere Khan's assurance that he's no longer with us, and my fingers are crossed that this is simple boosting on Shere Khan's part. On the other hand the death of Shere Khan at the hands of Snow White looks to be quite permanent, as she vents her frustration on the creature, and blows him to kingdom come.
First off I have to say that I loved the opening page of this issue, as we see Rose Red pays a visit to the armory, and loads up on weapons. I also have to give the art full marks for it's ability to deliver the little details, like the fact that Snow White actually looks tired when she complains about her need to go to sleep. There's also Snow's look of utter panic as she spots Shere Khan is lurking through the grass toward her, and the double-page shot of the sleeping giants & dragon is an absolutely wonderful piece of art. However the highlight of the issue would have to be the encounter that Snow White has on the cliff with Shere Khan, as how can one not love the look on his face when Snow bashes him in the nose with the turtle weapon. There's also his look of surprise after he's been shot and the look of sheer rage on Snow's face as she empties five more shots into him. I also enjoyed the quiet little aftermath where we see Snow White actually breaks down & cries after this ordeal, as it's a perfect little moment that shows there are cracks in the armor. I also have to say that out of all the covers we've gotten on this series, this issue's shot of Rose Red & Shere Khan has to be my favorite, as it does a wonderful job conveying the idea that Shere Khan is a big kitten at heart.
I was already enjoying this story a great deal, so the accelerated pace that this issue brings to the story has me fully convinced that this book can do no wrong. This book is a wonderfully crafted affair that it delivers on every level, from harrowing action as Snow White faces off against Shere Khan, to some truly amusing dialogue, as Reynard's attempt to charm Snow White was a delightful exchange. There's also a nice sense of wonder in the scene where Snow encounters the sleeping giants, and this sequence also does a solid job of making it clear that the Adversary must be one powerful customer if he's able to drive these creatures away from their homelands. I also have to say that while it's a little moment, the scene where Snow actively breaks down after killing Shere Khan is a great character moment, as it shows a very human side that the character rarely displays. One also has to love the cliffhanger that this issue delivers, as Rose Red makes her move against her sister.
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