Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham (p), Steve Leialoha (i)
While Snow White & Bigby Wolf are being hunted though the woods by a vengeful Goldilocks, back in Fabletown Prince Charming confronts Bluebeard about his evil plot against Bigby & Snow. Meanwhile back in the woods, the Wolf decides the time has come to stop running and show Goldilocks that he's the biggest, baddest creature in these woods.
While there have been moments where the big, bad aspects of the Wolf's personality have surfaced, this issue is far and away the most impressive showing he's been given thus far, as Bill Willingham takes an element from one of the Wolf's fables & brings it into this story in a manner that can only be described as awe inspiring. In fact my only concern is that in building up the Wolf, Bill Willingham could very well have made Goldilocks into a non-threat, but given his willingness to do the unexpected, I'm not quite ready to believe this fight has already been won, especially since we did receive a scene where Snow & Bigby discuss a plan of what she should do should his plan of attack prove to be a failure. The material involving Bigby's feelings for Snow White is also nicely handled, and while I'm not sure if the story was made available to readers who didn't pick up the trade paperback collection of this book's first arc, this issue's opening exchange/confession does a wonderful job of tying itself to that story. As for the material that plays out back in town, the character of Prince Charming gets an opportunity to show a side of his personality that we hadn't seen up to this point. Now while he's still a wonderfully lecherous creep, this issue does make it far easier to accept this is a man that seemingly intelligent women like Snow could fall head over heels in love with, as he can cut a rather dashing, heroic figure when called upon.
As for the art, Mark Buckingham is about as perfect a fit as one could hope for on this title as his clean, yet highly stylized panel layouts have a wonderful storybook quality about them. The art also does some wonderful work on this issue's two big moments, as Bigby's display of power is truly amazing. The exchange of blades between Prince Charming & Bluebeard is also nicely laid out, as one panel leads into the next, and the final blow is really quite striking in the sheer brutality of the visual.
The big bad Wolf is front and center in this issue, and one can't help but be impressed by his little display of power, when he decides to stop running. The discussion of his feelings toward Snow White is also a wonderful character moment, as it nicely explains why he continues to pursue a relationship with her in spite of her continued declarations that she's not interested. On the other side of the coin we also get a look at Snow's feelings regarding this relationship by using a rather unusual viewpoint, as Prince Charming's actions in this issue look to be entirely driven by the premise that he has recognized that Snow is in love with Bigby, and as such Bluebeard's plan to kill Bigby simply can't be allowed to play out. The ensuing clash is also a wonderful look at Prince Charming's more heroic qualities, but there are also moments inserted into the fight that act to strip away the heroic veneer to reveal he's still very much a self absorbed creep, whose heroic impulses are fleeting at best.
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