It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another meeting of our Graphic Content “book club.” As you may know, we meet up each week to discuss Fables graphic novels. How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below!
Not to sound like a broken record, but Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good Prince is absolutely wonderful–I liked it better than Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire. Finally, Ambrose the Frog Prince–better known to Fabletown as Flycatcher–discovers his destiny, and fulfills it in a matter-of-fact–but still spectacular–fashion. As Santa told him in Sons of Empire, Ambrose is meant to save the lives of thousands of Fables, which he does, but not in the way I imagined.
The first thing that struck me about The Good Prince is how Biblical it is. In many ways, Ambrose’s story mirrors that of Moses. When the book opens, we see that Ambrose, who has regained all of his memories of losing his family to Goblins in the Homelands, has secluded himself in the chapel and is grieving. Not only has he grown a prodigious amount of facial hair, but he’s refusing to eat, to Red Riding Hood’s chagrin. Determined to somehow exact revenge, he goes to Little Boy Blue and tries to get him to teach him how to use the Vorpal sword and witching cloak so that he can go back to the Homelands and kill all of the Goblins. Blue not only gently tells him that his plan has little chance of succeeding, but also lets him know that he admires Ambrose as a good and honorable man, and will not help him sully himself.
Fortunately, Bufkin accidentally causes the armor of the Foresworn Knight to fall apart, releasing his spirit, which turns out to be Sir Lancelot! To redeem himself for betraying King Arthur, he is to guide Ambrose to greatness, which includes a thorough bath (a baptism!) and a change of clothes (his armor). Turns out that Ambrose now has the power to make ghost flesh, while they are around him. So they go down to the Witching Well, where all of the dead are, and recruit them for the cause.
This is where the fun begins, because so many Fables who have died in previous installments show up here: Gretel, Bluebeard, Shere Khan, Baby Bear, the Three Little Pigs, Weyland, and more. They all have the chance for redemption if they make the long, slow, painful journey to the Promised Land, which turns out to be their own kingdom in the Homelands, called Haven.
And what a Haven it is! Because all of his subjects are ghosts, they cannot be killed–but the Adversary’s can. Plus, Ambrose opens up Haven to anyone who wishes, and his kingdom grows and grows. To try to stomp him out once and for all, the Adversary sends all of his wooden soldiers to fight, but Ambrose returns them to their roots. Literally. They become trees, which means Haven is now surrounded by the Enchanted Grove, and since there can only be one in the universe, the one surrounding Geppetto will never grow back!
All this, and Fabletown realizes that they’re actually at war with the Homelands and roust that a$$hole Hansel out of the Mundy world. And Frau Totenkinder fixes it so her witches and sorcerers can see and record everything the rogue Zephyrs see–including hundreds of classified documents. It’s a win, right? So why do I feel such foreboding?
Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:
What did you think of Flycatcher playing the part of noble prince?
JC: Loved it! He’s one of the unsung heroes of Fables thus far. I’m glad to see him get the chance to step into the spotlight. He’s always been such a stand-up guy, and he proved it a hundred times over when he offered the inhabitants of the witching well to come with him to Haven. I totally agree with Elisabeth’s assessment of the religious undertones in this story. Couldn’t think of a more deserving character to play the part of Moses.
EF: I thought it was absolutely wonderful, and plausible. Even after he regained his memories, Ambrose was still a sweet, goodhearted, nonviolent man. The core of who he is has always been incorruptible–no matter what memories he’s had. Watching him slowly find his way and transform himself into the “Good Prince” felt absolutely right.
What did you think of Bigby and Snow’s decision to introduce the cubs to Ghost?
JC: I’ve been waiting for this for awhile and Aaron Alexovich’s artwork set the tone for the interlude. Such a fun little story. I really liked how they presented the cubs with the decision.
EF:I thought it was an excellent touch. When Ghost was first introduced, I was worried that he/she was doomed from the beginning. Instead, not only is Ghost part of the family, but it looks like the Zephyrs in general are finally being considered, trained, and educated.
Got anything else to bring to the discussion? Share your thoughts below to get a special coupon, and be sure to meet us here next week to cover Fables TPB Vol. 11: War and Pieces.