We skipped last Friday, since it was a holiday weekend, but we’re back with a vengeance this week for another Graphic Content “book club” meeting. We’re meeting up to discuss Fables trade paperbacks each Friday until we catch up with monthly issues. How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment below!
This week’s Fables trade is Fables TPB Vol. 9: Sons of Empire, which deals with the fallout from Bigby’s attack on the Homelands in Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves. Fabletown may live to regret rattling The Adversary’s cage–if they’re lucky. The Adversary has not only sent an ambassador to Fabletown–the twisted and maniacal Hansel (yes, that Hansel)–but he’s called his most powerful allies to discuss ways they can kill everyone and everything in the “Mundy” world and use it as a garbage dump. Yeah, it’s pretty scary.
Of course, Pinocchio and Rodney (the wooden soldier who was turned into flesh and sent to spy of Fabletown) are horrified and voice their objections–including the ways Fabletown and the Mundy world can defeat them. Unfortunately, this was just what Geppetto was counting on. Now he’s revised his plans further to deal with this new information, which makes him deadlier than ever.
Meanwhile, Little Red Riding Hood gets a kaPOW!! makeover, causing Flycatcher to revert to being a frog. Could he feel guilty about finding another woman attractive after losing his wife in the Homelands? Also, Snow White and Bigby celebrate their first Christmas as a family, and Snow raises the stakes by asking for a family trip as her Christmas present: she wants to visit Bigby’s hated father, the North Wind.
Lots of seeds for future story here: Little Boy Blue and Rose Red seems to be getting closer, as he edges toward the realization the Little Red Riding Hood isn’t–and never was–his girl; we get a brief snapshot of what it’s like to grow several feet of hair a day (Rapunzel!); and there’s a section of one- and two-page stories answering readers’ questions and drawn by guest artists like Joelle Jones, David Lapham, and more! Oh, and we discover that Santa is a Fable, and he explains to Ambrose (one of Snow and Bigby’s cubs) just how he visits every house in the land in one night.
Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:
What did you like best about Fables Vol. 9: Sons of Empire?
JC: It’s really hard for me choose the favorite thing. We got so much out of these 200 pages! When I first opened the book, it flipped open to page 50. There, I found a three-page short story: Porky Pine Pie. The story was really enjoyable and the art blew me away.
There was more in there that I really liked, such as the Snow Queen’s plan for Mundy domination and the Burning Questions in the back of the book, but I keep on coming back to Porky Pine Pie.
EF: I really enjoyed this, but not as much as Wolves–while I liked all of the little snippets of stories, it didn’t pack as big a punch as some of the other trades. That being said, I liked this one a lot! Seeing Bigby and Snow’s family life was cool. Also, I loved Ride’s “Extreme Makeover” and the exchange between Santa and Flycatcher–a.k.a. Ambrose, who has apparently recovered his memories from his previous life, and apparently is the key to Fabletown’s salvation.
What’s Hansel’s story? A righteous crusader, maladjusted adult with a troubled past, or overzealous nut job?
JC: I’m going to go with nut job. First, his parents leave him and his sister to die in the woods. Then they encounter a witch who tries to kill them. They burn the witch, then become pilgrims. He was born to be a witch hunter. Only a monster would do that to his sister.
EF: Yeah, Hansel is a scary nut job. Totally committed to his twisted world view, and completely convinced that his way is righteous. I see him causing a lot of problems for Fabletown in the future.
What’s your take on Pinocchio’s assessment of the Mundy/Fable retaliation for the plague assault?
JC: Ummm . . . he didn’t know the Fables had a genii? Was Willingham just using him as a device, or are the spies really that good? I thought it was a great assessment to inspire trepidation, but a little unrealistic. Wouldn’t the easier option be to abandon the Mundy world and hole up in the cloud kingdom?
EF: I thought it was pretty eye-opening, but naive. I really think it would take some doing to convince the “Mundys” that Fables are real, especially in the middle of a massive plague. I also felt bad for Pinocchio because he thought he had dissuaded his father from going to war, but he only helped Geppetto refine his plans.
What’s was your favorite Burning Question backup story? Do you have a questions of your own?
JC: I liked the little pigs’ story. They are so tiny, but in their little piggy brains, they’re still big old giants. Totally cute. I’ve got one . . . what does Baba Yaga do to pass the time in her imprisonment?
EF: I loved the little pigs’ story too, because I love Joelle Jones, but I also loved the story about training for the mouse police. I love the mouse police! Here’s my question: what happens if one of Snow’s cubs grows up to be the fairest in the land . . . fairer than Snow?
Audience participation time. Have you read Sons of Empire? Share your thoughts below, and we’ll see you next week for Fables TPB Vol. 10: The Good Prince!