Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 22ish: Spoilerific Opinions on Fables

Alright, I've talked a bit about Fables here and there as I've been reading, but there have finally been enough events that I've read that I'd like to address a couple points. I've finished Fables Volume 10: The Good Prince (up to issue #69 in singles).

WARNING! MANY (if not all) OF THESE POINTS WILL BE SPOILERS. At least one of them will be huge enough that I STRONGLY suggest you skip this post if you plan to read the series in order.

Otherwise, let me know how you felt about the items below, or offer blind opinions on 'em if you've chosen to spoil it even with my warning above.

Spoilers below Bigby!
You'll notice things too, if you go below this picture!!

Alrighty. These topics are in no particular order, beyond what popped into my head first.

And don't forget, Ghost is invisible...
1. The Kids. When Bigby knocked up Snow White, I was surprised. When she carried to term, I was even more surprised (especially with how quickly it was done). Add to that a LITTER of kids, ok, uber-level shocked here. Admittedly Bigby and Snow have been taken out of the limelight, which is a bit of a bummer for me, but the kids have been done well. They're interesting cross breeds with unique personalities without having too much attention paid to them (they're neo-Fables, after all). The one odd kid, Ghost, is a living zephyr, or gust of wind. That's strange and has been a bit underutilized, if not forgotten. Not sure where the direction with the family and each individual kid is going, but I've come to appreciate that most with the boundary pushing Fables series.

2. The Adversary. Admittedly, it's pretty obvious WHO the Adversary is before the official reveal, but I wasn't sure how I felt about it for some time after. Gepetto being the big bad just seemed so... anti-climactic. He hasn't been hugely developed even after the reveal, but you catch enough glimpses of him to see that his mind is definitely in the right place for being the despicable strings behind the puppet (heh) Emperor. The Good Prince storyline in particular shows Gepetto explaining why wholesale slaughter was all in a good regime's work.

3. The answer is magic, duh. There are several moments/items/people that skew the view of the Fables world(s). Boy Blue launches a single-man campaign, simply due to having two magical items -- the Witching Cloak and the Vorpal Sword. He tears through the worlds of the Empire, defeats the puppet Emperor (for a moment) and is able to uncover who the true Adversary is, all without ever getting a scratch. A bit overpower, no?

God Mode cheat enabled.
Well, take a look at Prince Ambrose, able to use Lancelot's armor and Excalibur to fantastic results. It made for an interesting read and it was refreshing to see a good character win and win completely compared to most fantasy pieces (looking at you, Game of Thrones), but if he could do something like this, and Boy Blue could become a dashing hero with a pinch of magic, why did the Adversary succeed in taking the Homelands over in the first place? Overwhelming might works as an excuse for a bit, except when the Kingdom of Haven proves that even that isn't always the key.

What I'm hoping comes very soon is some serious badassery from the villains. I don't want them to win, of course -- I love too many of the characters, but I want to see a reason for the Fables' exile in the first place.

4. The characters. Wow. There are so many diverse characters and side stories. And there isn't a single one I dislike following on a tangent. Even characters that were introduced to hate, as with Prince Charming, a fondness has grown with the terrific storytelling and character development. And even Fables being introduced in later issues are dropped in skillfully. I look forward to eventually branching out to Jack of Fables (arguably the only character I still DON'T enjoy in the series) and Fairest down the line.

5. Breakneck speed. I'm used to comics where time progresses very slowly, if at all. How old is Peter Parker, again? Admittedly, these characters live forever and have a bit of a boon over those that should probably have passed away by now, but the actual feeling of time progression is palpable and done very well. Stories don't drag and anything you miss in skipped months seems decent fodder for side-stories, if nothing else. Snow giving birth and raising the kids, Prince Charming becoming Mayor, Flycatcher's transformation, all of these got the appropriate build up and there hasn't been a single moment of me feeling a story was rushed.

Glad to be so bad.
6. Knowing the Big Bad. A lot of stories today keep the final/biggest villain either in the shadows or out of reach for the entire piece of work, until the climax, which is generally fairly short. Fables took its time introducing the Adversary's true face, but since then they haven't been afraid to punch it on the nose and run away to live another day. And we're taken inside the enemy's camp to see, in a limited sense, their side of things. These aren't faceless villains! I don't necessarily think they're everything they could be/I want them to be, but the fact that they are given appropriate detail and their own side-stories is crucial for me in respecting them as an enemy.

I think that's it for now. There's a lot to love with this series, and I am still a 100% fan. Looking forward to one day actually catching up, though I hope it never has to end.

If you are NOT reading Fables, you are doing it wrong. Swing on by and I'll lend you some! I can't seem to find my 2nd Volume, but I feel strongly enough that, once exposed, this is a series that will hook you.

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