Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Lan Medina (p), Craig Hamilton (i)
The book opens by introducing us to a new Fable, who we see has a curse placed upon her that is posing some problems when it comes to her ability to function out in the real world. We then see her meeting with Bigby Wolf about her problem is cut short when Bigby is called outside by an investigative reporter who has noticed there is something rather odd about the Fables community, and he's all set to expose the community & perhaps endanger its existence by publishing a story that presents the damning proof that he's managed to piece together. Deciding they have to nip this problem before it gets out of control we see Bigby puts together a group of Fables who later that night descend upon the apartment complex of the reporter who threatened to expose them. We then see them make use of the new Fables' curse to afford them a secure means of slipping into the man's apartment, as they are looking to gather together his damning proof, thus leaving the man as a crackpot with a outlandish theory, and no proof to back it up. However, while the plan looks to go off without a hitch, we see the group discovers the reporter has set up a way to back up his evidence on a remote computer, and they would need close to a week to track it down.
Bill Willingham turns his attention to the caper plot, as the Fables find their community threatened by an outsider who has taken note of their peculiarities, and they have to find a way to keep him from exposing them to the world. The book manages to inject some humor into this plot by playing up the idea that this investigative reporter has made a rather impressive leap, and has arrived at a final conclusion that while completely wrong, does have enough proof that one can see how & why he made the leap. The story also has some fun with a new Fables character who steps on the stage & plays a fairly key role in the whole caper, by providing an environment where the Fables can move about freely as they gather the evidence collected against them. The one thing that this book has managed to do on a fairly consistent basis is surprise me with how well Bill Willingham has managed to incorporate the fairy tale elements into the real world setting, and one has to love to opening exchange in this issue between Bigby & our new Fable cast member, which nicely sets up the role this character plays later in the issue. The issue also does a pretty good job of playing by the rules that were established during the original fairy tale where this character was introduced.
This arc also marks the welcome return of several characters who were introduced during the opening story, as Bigby Wolf provides the leadership in this little caper plot, and he brings with him a healthy dose of cynicism mixed with the general sense that out of all the characters involved he's the only one who really knows what he's doing. We also look in on Prince Charming as he continues his life as a human sponge, as he dances from one ruinous relationship to the next, and his inability to see the damage he's causing in his wake makes his interaction with the Fable women who have already been exposed to his charms quite amusing. In fact I love the idea that Prince Charming basically made his way from fairy tale to fairy tale to provide the happily ever after endings, only to dump his latest conquest when he happened upon another endanger woman in need of a prince. The little exchange between him & the newest Fable character was hilarious, and one has to love the name he managed to saddle his sweetie with when they get inside. There's also a cute exchange between Jack & Bigby as the we see the ever scheming Jack has latched on to a way to scam some people out of their money. The secret alliance between Bluebeard & Jack was also a interesting little side-plot that looks to resurface on the final page of this issue.
Lan Medina returns to these pages after having provided the art for the opening arc in this series, and since the focus shifts back to the characters who were introduced during this opening arc, it's only fitting that the art be provided by the artist who established the look of these characters. Lan Medina brings a nice sense of realism to the book, as it's very easy to forget these characters are refugees from the fairy tales until they do something rather extraordinary. The world the Fables move about in has a nice ordinary feel to it, as the characters look cold when they move about in the snow, and when the caper is set in motion the art does a wonderful job of taking us around to the various apartments to show us how these people's lives were disrupted by the spell that was unleashed. There's also some nice little details, like our look at the apartment of the woman who is in the process of kicking Prince Charming to the curb, as we can see she isn't exactly the most organized of personalities, and that she's still young enough that she would fall for the Prince's rather dubious charms. I also love the covers to this book, with the way the cover logo is incorporated into the overall design, and never seems to be in the same place twice on any of the covers.
After an issue that left me a little disappointed last month, Bill Willingham returns to form with a very enjoyable two-parter that has several of my favorite Fables involved in a rather clever caper style adventure. I also have to make mention of the newest Fable to make the leap into this comic, as she's a fun character, and the curse she's under does provide for a rather clever method for allowing the Fables to pull off their little heist. The issue also makes good use of the characters who have already been established in previous adventures, as Bigby Wolf continues to be one of my favorite characters, as he carries out his plans admits the various complications that the other Fables bring to the table, and one has to love the sheer sleaze factor of Prince Charming, the undercurrent of danger & duplicity that Bluebeard projects & the con-artist mentality that Jack engages in. The conclusion that the reporter leaps to regarding the Fables is also rather amusing.
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