Thursday, December 22, 2005

Alackazam! Poof!

A week and a half ago, I predicted Fables was heading toward "what could be the best conflict yet" when Yusuf released a d'jinn. I expected a drawn out chess match with lives on the line at every turn and wondered why 40% of the story had been set up and feared resolving the d'jinn conflict in a mere three issues might seem rushed.

I was wrong. The d'jinn conflict won't feel rushed in three issues. Instead it feels rushed in one issue. In fact, at the end of #44 instead of wondering "how is Bill Willingham going to cram in all this story in just two more issues?" I'm left asking "what is Bill Willingham going to do for the next two issues?"

For starters, Prince Charming meets with Boy Blue, who hands over literally libraries worth of information from all the worlds he visited during the Homeworlds storyline. Unfortunately, as this espionage has to be kept secret, it can't be used in his defense, so a tribunal finds him guilty of stealing magic items. Prince Charming breaks the news apologetically, but Blue tells him to shove it.
Blue's given the choice of a year in the detention cell or two years laboring on the farm upstate and accepts the latter. As he leaves, he asks Flycatcher to keep an eye on Red Riding Hood for him since she feels like an outcast, which raises the question why can't she just go up and live at the farm with him? If he's her only friend and the farm is the place for exiles, what reason does she have to stay in New York with all the people who distrust her?

Meanwhile, the d'jinn is loose and Beast gathers a posse. For two pages, Grimble, Frau Totenkinder, Beast, King Cole, and others discuss how they are going to round up the Arabian fables, then just two frames later all the Arabian fables are being led away in shackles and hoods. Almost as quickly, it's determined Sinbad had nothing to do with the release of the d'jinn and Yusuf acted alone.

During all this, the d'jinn is in Baghdad, slaughtering all of Yusufs cronies. Huh? Last issue, Yusuf wished for the d'jinn to kill all the rightful successors to Sinbad's throne who'd take precedence over Yusuf himself, so it's clear something's amiss.The d'jinn makes its way back to America where it's supposed to kill King Cole, Prince Charming, Sinbad, and others, but Frau Totenkinder reveals the twist. Since she couldn't contain nor defeat the d'jinn, instead she cast a spell on Yusuf that caused him to think he was saying one thing when actually he was really wishing for the d'jinn to kill all his cohorts and then return to devour him slowly and painfully, which it does on the last page.

So... that's that.

Considering how much I complain about how Bendis will stretch an eight-page backup story into seven issues, it's odd for me to have to argue from the other side. Of course, I have much more faith in Willingham's ability to keep a drawn-out tale interesting. This issue read almost like Willingham decided to change gears because he thought of a better plot and wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, especially since the first eight to ten pages are rather slow and methodical, as we've come to expect, then everything gets rushed up to the end.

With two issues left, it's hard to imagine what else is left. It appears the Arabian fables and the European fables are all getting along, the villian is dead, and Frau Totenkinder's made it clear they've got the d'jinn situation under control even though he's still not back in his bottle.

Comic Goodness: 3/5. Kind of a below average Fables, but this title is like blowjobs. Even bad ones are better than reading New Avengers.


Blogger kelvingreen said...

[Fables], is like blowjobs. Even bad ones are better than reading New Avengers.
That should go on the cover of one or both of those books.

12:47 PM  
Blogger markus said...

Ilaughed out loud at that line as well (and #44 was mediocre) but believe even Bendis would concede that NA isn't as good as a bad blowjob.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I'll make sure to include this review with my resume the next time I apply for a marketing opening at DC.

7:17 PM  
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