Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha
My sister-in-law is from Latvia, a former Russian satellite, so I had a heads up on the true identity of the fake Red Riding Hood, as apparently the character is popular enough to have starred in a number of cartoons, where she kept company with a dragon, and a skinny, bony guy called the Undying One, as well as her chicken-legged house. Still, the impression that she gave me was that our mystery villain wasn't all that evil, but rather she was more of a comedic figure whose evil activities were at the behest of the Undying One, and I'll have to give this a closer look as it could very well be a major clue to the identity of the Adversary. In any event this issue is largely a cleanup issue where the characters pick up the pieces and in an amusing scene we learn how they manage to explain the fact that a battle raged in the middle of a populated city, and yet it didn't register as anything more than a "minor local story".
The issue also manages to make it pretty clear that Snow White has warmed to the fact that Bigby is her man (so to speak), as she puts on a public display of her affection that pretty much every Fable notices, with Red Rose's reaction being rather amusing. However, the real reason to pick up this issue is for it's encounter between the Gingerbread House Witch and the fake Red Riding Hood, as it's a great exchange between two evil creatures, and one can't help but walk away from this encounter concerned that we have a Fable this powerful in the community, and her alliances have a bit of a question mark to them. The conversation also manages to nicely spell out the relationship that exists between the magic users.
Mark Buckingham isn't given an issue that lends itself to the artist, as it's largely a talking heads affair, and the major action takes place mostly off-panel, though the brief glimpse that we do get is surprisingly effective thanks largely to the horrified reaction of Old King Cole. However, the issue is a wonderful display of what an artist can add to an issue like this one, from Snow's delight when she discovers Bigby has arrived, to the visual contrast of the sweet old lady image with the idea that this character is one of the more sinister villains from the Fables. I also loved the cover design, as is nicely reflects the sombre mood of the story we get inside.
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