It’s time for our latest Graphic Content “book club” meeting . . . well, my latest, anyway, since Josh is out enjoying a new addition to his family! We’re at Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)–one of my favorite Fables trade paperbacks thus far. Beware: since this is a book club, we assume you’ve done the required reading, so SPOILERS ARE AHEAD!!!
In Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days), we finally meet some Fables from the Arabian Homelands, as Sinbad and his entourage of courtiers and slaves come to call. The Adversary is encroaching on their lands as well, so they’ve stepped through the gates into Baghdad and wish to meet with Prince Charming to form an alliance with Fabletown and get acquainted with Mundy ways. This does not go well, since Charming sent away Mowgli, the person Sinbad’s court had previously been negotiating with, and promptly forgot about the meeting. And no one speaks Arabian. Well, almost no one . . .
Yes! My favorite part of this is that King Cole was needed to save Fabletown’s collective face. His in-depth knowledge of Arabian etiquette (and their language) and his brilliant negotiating skills finally showed why King Cole was Mayor for so many centuries. The mentor relationship he formed with Sinbad was delightful–to everyone but his wizard, Yusuf, who objected to dealing with “heathens” and setting their slaves free. His solution? To unleash a D’Jinn, or genie, to destroy Sinbad’s supporters and Fabletown, allowing Yusuf to take over!
It was nice to see Prince Charming, Beauty, and her Beast cleverly trick Yusuf into defeating himself–most painfully–and it was glorious to see King Cole set off as Ambassador between the East and West Fables. He had a purpose again and was very much needed–quite the fairytale ending. However! What was with that kiss between Beauty and Prince Charming? A side effect of stress and overwork, or something more?
The second story in this trade tells the story of two of Gepetto’s wooden creations, who fall in love and ask to be made flesh. They too get their “fairytale ending,” but at a terrible price: they are spying on Fabletown in the Mundy world, carrying out despicable acts while awaiting the birth of their first child. I hope their story is picked up again sometime down the road!
On to the questions:
What did you like best about Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)?
EF: I really liked the traditional fairytale elements to these stories. Fables really read like . . . well, fables! There was intrigue, mystery, and a moral to both stories, to boot! I like how Charming, Beauty, and the Beast are coming into their own, successfully solving problems in their own way. Hopefully personal issues won’t get between them!
What did you think of the miss between Beauty and Prince Charming?
EF: From the very beginning, Beauty and the Beast have been presented as a bickering couple–or, as Charming put it, “You [bicker at] him all the time.” That dynamic, plus the fact that they’ve been married for dozens of centuries and have both taken on stressful new jobs, would create cracks in any relationship. I liked that Beauty firmly shut Prince Charming down, but noticed she waited until after kissing him. And Bufkin was a witness!
What do you think of Fabletown’s unique pathways of justice?
EF: It’s hilarious to me that although Fabletown has strict laws, they enact them in a way that people get what they actually deserve. Little Boy Blue, although he (seemingly) stole magical items and ran away with them, was secretly on a mission for Charming and is a hero to the people. Therefore, his two years of “hard labor” at the Farm look like they’ll be productive and pleasant. Meanwhile, even though Sinbad brought in a weapon of mass destruction (the D’Jinn), he was keeping it from the Adversary and had no intention of using it against Fabletown. Therefore, while he is banned from Fabletown as a private citizen, he can certainly come and go as he pleases as the newly appointed Mayor of Fabletown East. Pretty sneaky.
What were your impressions of “The Fable of Rodney and June”?
EF: I loved Jim Fern and Jimmy Palmiotti’s art for this–it really looked like a classic fairytale, detailed and absolutely gorgeous. Rodney and June’s story was engaging and sweet, but you just knew there was going to be an ugly side to it. In the end, I felt badly for them, but they definitely made a deal with the devil, and now they have to live with it.
So what did you think? Take a moment and comment below! And make sure to meet back here next Friday for Fables TPB Vol. 8: Wolves.