"The Cruel, Hot Summer"
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham (p), Steve Leialoha (i)
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
As Snow White goes into labor, we see the rest of the Fable community is caught up in the election for mayor, as Prince Charming and Old King Cole wait with baited breath for the final result. As Snow receives several unexpected surprises during her extended labor, the final vote count comes in and the winner is decided in a landslide victory. Meanwhile an investigative reporter begins to take a closer look at events that concern the Fable community.
Not the best jumping on point for new readers, as this new arc is largely centred around resolving a couple running subplots, but regular readers should find the issue quite enjoyable as Bill Willingham does offer up a couple major developments in the Fable community. First off the mayoral race is resolved in this issue, and this in turn results in a couple great reaction scenes, as how can one not love Prince Charming's reaction after his discussion with the Gingerbread Witch, and Old King Cole's reaction scene to the vote's outcome was also a powerful little character moment. The second plot involves the birth of Snow White and Bigby Wolf's children, and this scene has a couple unexpected twists, and next issue's discussion of the final page display should be a lot of fun. The issue also offers up a number of very cute little moments from Snow's commentary as she's giving birth, to the cute little bit of rhyming that is offered up by the Three Little Pigs as they discuss who they're voting for. It was also fun to see Bigby Wolf cast into the role of expectant father, and there's a nice little wrinkle when it comes to his being able to being able to look after his children. There's also a couple solid teaser plot threads in this issue, as we see the Gingerbread Witch is looking to discover who the Adversary is, and the mystery of why the investigative reporter wasn't affects by the spell has me curious, though I'm guessing he's a Fable who has forgotten he's a Fable.
Mark Buckingham remains my favourite artist that works on this series, and given he has provided the art for the majority of the issues, I think it's pretty safe to look upon him as the book's regular artist. His cartoonish style does a fine job of capturing the fantasy elements of this title, from the parallel images of the voting lines, to the sense of wonder that the final page offers up as Snow's children put on their little show. There's also a great double page spread as we see Old King Cole and Prince Charming offering up their reactions to the early rumours regarding the final vote count. There's also a number of fun little details, from Snow's reaction to the news that the doctor offers up after her first infant is born, to our first look at Prince Charming after we learn who won the race. There's also a great little moment where we see Old King Cole react to the final outcome.
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