It is with great pleasure and infinite honor that I present my Pick Of The Week for this week.
Words: Bill Willingham & Mark Buchingham,
Pictures: Mark Buckingham, Bill Willingham, Chrissie Zullo, Dave Johnson, Adan Hughes, Kate McElroy, J.H. Williams III & Joao Ruas
The mark of a truely great comic book is it’s ability to last. Most books that last these days have to have some connection to ‘foundational’ characters and concepts. You know Amazing Spider-Man and Action Comics will never be canceled and having them his a milestone issue like #500 or #800, while worth noting, can’t really be a surprise because they simply will never be canceled.
Fables doesn’t have that. All it has is a great concept, a top shelf writer and some of the best art in comics today. It’s got friends with names like Michael Allred, Steve Leialoha, Adam Hughes and countless others. It has fans. Loyal and patient fans. I am proud to count myself among the Friends of Fables. This issue is a great example of why I love this series.
So, let’s break this down:
First we have out main story, Single Combat, ‘In which a witch of great and terrible repute attempts to solve the problem of Mister Dark in the most elemental and atavistic of ways.’ Since around issue 80 (give or take) the evil Mister Dark has been the bane of the Fables’ existence. He took over the part of New York City that was once Fable town, his ability to make zombie like slaves called ‘Witherlings’ by eating the teeth of his victims had help him grow in power, he began to built Castle Dark on the remains of Fabletown as he planned to hunt them down and destroy them. Frau Totenkinder, now much younger and calling herself Bellflower, had been preparing for months now to take him on in a one on one duel. Winner take all.
Now, the time for talk is over. It’s Mister Dark Vs. Bellflower and what a fight it is! Before going into battle, Bellflower prepared 100 spells to use against Mister Dark. A being of darkness and one who gains power through fear, he finds it difficult to get anything from her because she seems to have no fear. Soon, however she figures out HIS fear. He was originally captured by The Adversary’s army and trapped in a box. He doesn’t want to go back into a box. Bellflower knows this and know this as his fear. Every spell she uses is a variation of a box.
Except one. She does use one spell that takes us back to a story she was in where she had a house made of candy. She force feeds Mister Dark sugar, lots of sugar, which we all know rots teeth. His and the
ones he stole and used for power.
Who wins? Well, if I told you that it wouldn’t be a surprise. Let me say I was happy with the swerve and the swerve on that swerve!
Also in the main story, which was over 60 pages long (!), we find out not all of the Fables are nice. Nurse Spratt, who could eat no lean, is a nasty whale of a woman who wants nothing more than to see the ‘pretty Fables’ get destroyed. When the Fables leave the Farm after the fight (who won?) she stays behind and finds someone who can help her exact the revenge she feels she’s entitled to. This could be a very bad thing for the rest of the Fables. Finally, something good…sort of: The birth of Beauty and Beast’s baby! A little girl. Almost perfect. Let’s just say she has one hell of a temper!
As always the art in the main story is top shelf. Buckingham shows off his true talent here, not like he doesn’t on a regular issue, but it seems like his art is even bigger and the way the book was colored makes it seem bigger. Almost like seeing a movie spinoff of your favorite TV show. You Firefly fans out there, remember when you saw Serenity the first time on the big screen? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Just saying “wow this is so cool!” every five minutes…
So, what else did we get for $9.99? A prose story written by Mark Buckingham and illustrations by Bill Willingham featuring Pinocchio and his father, the Cranky Old Man. I liked the ending but will say no more on this one. Moving on we have the Fable Puppet Theater where you can cut out sets and puppets and make your very own Fables stories! It’s exciting and a very fun idea but I don’t think we’ll see to many of these being cut up. Next stop is a short (no pun intended) Thumbelina story showing some of the smaller Fables adjusting to their new home followed by Burning Questions from famous fans of Fables. These are done just for fun, especially the Snow White one. After this we find the Three Blind Mice on an adventure and lastly the Escape To Wolf Manor board game. Honestly I think the only fault I can find with this issue is it’s made for the fans and not very new reader friendly. But if you aren’t reading this book by now then you have only yourself to blame and should probably start hanging your head in shame. Just saying.
A very nice package and a great example of how you celebrate a milestone especially for a title that has no major superheros in it. The series has been a favorite of mine from the first issue which, I’ll admit, I only picked up because I like the cover and had no intention of actually reading it. 99 issues later I’m talking about Fables #100, the very first title in 20 years of collecting comics that I’ve collected as a new book for 100 issues and after reading the first 100 all I can say is I’m very much looking forward to the next 100!
I just want to say it one more time: Fables #100…Wow…