Friday, October 24, 2014

Fables #19: Snow White

I admit it: I cried at the end of Cubs in Toyland.  I felt strangely hollow inside.  Although it wasn't a pleasant story to read, it was a good and important one.  Different, too, from the usual tongue-in-cheek referential humor of Fables in general, but still powerful.

And then dangit, Snow White comes along and whoosh.  The readers are swept back into a hodgepodge of stories that are so short that it's impossible for them to have any emotional resonance.

Going into this volume, I already knew what happened at the end, and while sad, it didn't actually make me feel sad.  Intellectually, I knew, "Well, that sucks.  Sadness."  Emotionally, I said, "Meh.  Fables return.  Wait a few volumes."

As I mentioned, the main issue with this is that we have a lot of storylines going on and not enough space in which to expand upon them.  A good chunk of the book (maybe a third?) is spent wrapping up Bufkin's story in Oz.  There's a revolution and blood and weird body morphing and pumpkinheads and ... stuff.  I just ...


Finally, we meander back to the main story arc, wherein Briar Rose spends several pages talking to Bigby about her magical car that runs on the blood of the innocent, and since Bigby can't drive, Stinky goes with him.  They're off to look for the cubs who disappeared during Cubs in Toyland (Therese and Dare).  

Then THEN Prince Brandish, who is Snow White's sort-of first husband (I guess making a vow to marry someone is like actually getting married, according to Fable law), turns Grimble into a bluebird  (as you do), and kidnaps Snow White, locking her in a tower and verbally assaulting her with the most hideous mélange of misogyny and just plain vileness that I've heard since the last Gamergate tweet.  Meanwhile, Rose and Cole are running around like "Ahhhhh," which, really doesn't help things, thanks, and Leigh Duglas is enjoying herself immensely.

Meanwhile, Beast is trying to figure out how not to become slave to the Blue Fairy for an impossibly long time (confession: I do not remember why this would happen but I do know it has to do with her beef with Gepetto.  Personally I'd just tell her to take him away, but...).  He actually pulls off a rather clever stunt, but the appearance of the Lady of the Lake is rather foreboding, although she mostly just wants to talk wine vintages.  


Something's up with Brandish and Snow where anything that hurts him hurts her as well.  I must have completely forgotten that from a previous volume, or maybe some of my pages were stuck together.   That was tossed in there just to make the situation even hairier.

I was quite disappointed in the final fight scene as well, because it was chaotic in a bad way.  I had no idea what was going on.  Figures moved from top to bottom to side to top in successive panels.  I suppose this denotes "quick movement" but it just looked like every third panel was missing.  The ending itself was horribly anticlimactic.  

Look, I do really enjoy the Fables series and universe (I may be the only person on the face of the mundy Earth who actually enjoyed Jack of Fables), but this was not the strongest volume, and it should have been much better, given the type of impact it was supposed to have on its readers.  If you read Fairest as well, you already know what happens in Snow White, so I would say just skip it or maybe read the last few pages just to say you saw it for yourself.

A deflated balloon in an otherwise fun and intelligent series.

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