It’s time for another installment of our Graphic Content “book club.” We’re currently paging through a Fables trade paperback each Friday! How can you participate? Join the discussion by posting a comment here, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!
In the fifth book, Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons, Willingham introduces us to Cindy (Cinderella). She’s one of three “tourists” who are actually undercover agents for Bigby. She’s charged with tracking down turncoat Fables and catching them in the act. Her target: Ichabod Crane. He was King Cole’s Deputy for over a century and he’s ready to spill the beans to The Adversary! Bigby shows up in the nick of time to catch “Icky” in the act and collar him for the caper.
Then, guest artists Tony Akins and Jimmy Palmiotti take us back in time to Germany circa 1944. We follow “Dog Company” on Operation Chambermaid, deep behind enemy lines. The Führer has a secret warrior on his side who could turn the tide. He’s risen from the dead once already, and he’s nearly indestructible! Enter the wolfman! Bigby escorts Dog Company on their mission and takes out the threat.
Finally, Willingham and Leialoha are back for a four-part “Mean Seasons” arc. Big changes are in the works, as Snow prepares to give birth and Charming replaces Cole as the Mayor of Fabletown. We follow Bigby as he rushes to the hospital to join Snow during her 44-hour labor. Six babies are born and they are cute! Only problem is that they don’t all look human, and the law is that they can’t be in the city if they don’t look human. Even though she’s been a career girl for most of her life in the Mundy world, Snow chooses to move up north to the Farm to raise the cubs. Yah, the Farm. But we all know that since Bigby isn’t allowed up there, this poses serious ramifications for an already tumultuous Bigby/Snow relationship. As Snow leaves for the Farm, Bigby begins his own journey–only we don’t find out where he’s going.
When Snow and the cubs arrive at the Farm, they’re greeted by the whole community, and it’s not long before Bigby’s father catches wind of the birth of his grandkids. He travels from the Homelands to the farm, and we find out that the cubs have the ability to change from human to wolf, just like Bigby! Oh, yeah, they can also fly! Frau Totenkinder sends a note to Snow with an ominous warning: “I caution you not to assume that seven children is always a lucky number.”
Seven? Well, the last five pages of this book are going to knock your socks off!
Now it’s time to discuss your thoughts:
How did The Mean Seasons stack up to previous Fables volumes?
EF: For once, I loved the guest artist, Tony Akins. I thought he captured Cinderella’s spy mission and Bigby’s WWII tale very well. It was slightly different than Mark Buckingham’s work, but still felt like it took place within the Fables world.
Geez, where to begin? I really liked this installment–there was so much going on, and it seemed even more humorous than usual. Snow giving birth to a litter of children, Beauty, Beast, and Prince Charming’s bumbling attempts to run Fabletown, and the beheaded wooden soldiers are always good for a laugh. Of course, there were some sad touches–King Cole was obviously devastated to lose out as Mayor after how many centuries? And Snow and Bigby’s parting–and her sending one of her children away–was sad.
JC: A great volume. I’m a fan when they bring in shorter arcs to give us some breathing room. I was pretty used to the status quo, and this volume turned the Fables world upside down. Snow’s babies are so terribly cute, and it was pretty heart wrenching for Bigby and Snow to be forced away from each other. When she sent the seventh baby away to find Bigby, I too was saddened.
How do you feel about Snow and Bigby’s evolving relationship? Do you agree that Snow is still waiting for a handsome prince?
EF: Unfortunately, I’m still not really feeling Snow and Bigby as a couple. I feel like the writer is telling us they’re connected, rather than showing us. What, they have sex one time–without remembering it–Snow gives birth, and then Bigby leaves town? I felt bad for Bigby–because most of his children didn’t look human, they had to move to the Farm, where he’s not allowed–but after centuries of serving Fabletown, I feel like he should have gotten a break. I think the writer separated Snow and Bigby–again–because he didn’t know what to do with them, or he wanted to drag out the tortured romance bit as long as he could.
JC: I really like their relationship. We haven’t seen much of them in their “alone time” so it feels like their relationship is just shy of where it needs to be. Bigby is a stand-up guy, and from what I gather from the story so far, he genuinely loves Snow. I’m not sure the feelings are 100% recriprocated, but I’m looking forward to the two becoming a strong unit in the future. There’s a lot of angst there. I like it.
What do you think of Snow helping her “zephyr” child get away with murder?
EF: I was entirely sympathetic. The newborn zephyr obviously didn’t realize he/she were killing people–or the consequences–and Snow looked devastated that one, she didn’t realize she had a seventh child, and two, that if the others had caught the child, it would have been put to death. Sidenote: hilarious that Snow White had seven children, what with the Seven Dwarfs and all.
JC: Agreed. The baby didn’t know what he/she was doing and I would have done the same thing in her situation. I just hope the baby finds Bigby soon!
So what did you think of this volume? Let us know below!