Monday, January 5, 2009

Issue By Issue: Bill Willingham's Fables

#15 - Into The Woods

Writer: Bill Willingham; Pencils: Mark Buckingham; Inker: Steve Leiahola; Colour: Daniel Vozzo; Letterer: Todd Klein; Cover: James Jean.

p 01 Comic Book Day

So Snow and Bigby have gone off on a vacation together and the whole town is gossiping. Of course, this is the same gossip that had earlier reached the Farm. We heard about it from Reynard. What makes this particular page interesting is two things. Its comic book day in Fabletown and Blue, Flycatcher, and Pinocchio are catching up on their favourites: Stalk Thing, The Un-Mundy, Oz Men, Fairytale Four, Tin Man, and the prominently displayed Redhood, which sports a Dark Knight Returns inspired cover. This is a clever bit of foreshadowing, as who-know-who will be returning shortly. Well, I guess you don’t know, yet, do you?

The other interesting thing is that it helps establish the time line. In speculating about how long the two lovers have been at it, the three reveal that it has been more than a year since the Remembrance Day when Red was thought dead.

pp 02-04 Rude Awakening

Bigby is enjoying nature au natural, holding to an outcropping of rock under a river and watching Rainbow Trout swim by. He gets out and gets dress and… comes to his senses. He quickly rouses Snow, who is also coming out from under the influence of the spell.

p 05 Sergeant Wilfred

Days have passed, but Wilfred is still trying to make his way out of Bluebeard’s castle. And it is a castle, after all, even though it has been magically fitted into an apartment. It is a long journey and a dangerous one. Today’s challenge? Rats. Mundy rats, who won’t stand aside for a Lilliputian law officer, no matter how urgent his business.

pp 06-07 The Trek Out

In their bags the two find one way tickets to Seattle, so they are either in the Olympic or Cascade mountains. Both are near Seattle. Looking south from the city I live in, Victoria, BC, you can see the Olympics. Looking east you can see the Cascades. They aren’t far from one another and, if you didn’t recognize specific mountains, it would be easy to confuse the two. Given the unlikelihood of their sudden holiday, they realize they’ve been under an enchantment; and given Snow’s inability to hike far, Bigby realizes their car must be close. Bigby suspects Jack, but we know that idea is a part of the enchantment.

pp 08-09 The Mystery Of The Mouse Police

Something strange has been happening at the Woodlands. Mouse police keep turning up. Three have been captured, none of them Wilfred. Neither Bluebeard, Blue, nor Charming know what to make of it. Charming offers to find out, but Bluebeard objects. He makes some personal shots at the Prince, but we know he has something to hide. A mounted policeman, Sergeant Wilfred, discovered that he was the one hiding Goldilocks. Bluebeard doesn’t know if one of the three captured is the one who was in his apartment, or whether the report has been made, but he needs to protect himself. Unfortunately for the would be criminal mastermind, the Mayor has other priorities. He appoints Charming to the task.

pp 10-12 Auto Safety

The two formerly happy campers find their car and head home. Snow has to drive, as Bigby can’t. They don’t get very far, however, before a tire explodes and she loses control of the car. It’s strange, but, in spite of not knowing how to drive, the Wolf give Snow some very detailed instructions on how take drive an out of control car down a cliff. I don’t know sound they really are. Using trees and thick bush to slow your descent might just cause the air bags to deploy. Then you couldn’t see where you’re going. Also, you don’t know what’s in an area of thick brush. It could be a big rock. But they end up at the bottom, with air bags deployed.

pp 13-14 Debriefing

Charming takes the little policemen home (actually, two policemen and a policewoman). Briar is already tiring of him and he quickly makes his way quickly to his room. There he has a Lilliputian sized doll house. He lets the three loose. He isn’t pleased. They weren’t supposed to be caught. Yes, they were working for the Prince all along. Remember, it was the Prince who oversaw the Trials. He has a lot of pull amongst the Farm’s police. The Prince has been using the little cops to do some investigating, but, they explain, there are too few and too much to do. They’ve had to take risks and their capture is the result. Wilfred hasn’t been seen in days and opinion is divided. Some are worried, others have every confidence in him. He is one of their best.

pp 15-18 Recovery

Snow and Bigby pull themselves out of their wreck, impressed with mundy technology and human safety measures. Snow is okay, but Bigby’s left arm is badly hurt. She helps him set it and he then turns into to his native wolf form, which will speed healing considerably. Even in human form, though, his senses are good enough to let him know the tire didn’t just blow. He heard the gun shot. The crash was actually a bit of good luck. It took them out of the gun man’s sights and gave them a chance to get out of the situation alive.

p 19 The Gun(wo)man

Bluebeard calls Goldilocks. She’s on the mountain, on a dirt bike, making her way down to the crash site. It has been two hours since she forced their car down the embankment, but she still hasn’t found them. She has been hampered, in arming herself, by the US’s three day waiting period. If she’d been able to arm herself faster, she would have been able to shoot them before the spell wore off. Bureaucracy saves the day! How un-comic-book-like. She tells her benefactor to leave her alone and let her finish the fight.

p 20 Wilfred’s Fight

Wilfred has finished his. He is lying in a pool of blood, with the bodies of three mundy rats, each big enough to bite him in half. He pulls himself up, finds his hat, pulls his sword from the body of a rat, wipes the blood off, and soldiers on.

pp 21-22 True Confessions

Snow and Bigby are resting. He is in wolf form still. It suddenly occurs to her that there was only one sleeping bag. Were they sleeping together? He tells her that he was probably sleeping outside as a wolf, go to sleep. But she has lots of questions. Why, for example, was he even interested in her in the first place? She presses and he tells her. In the next issue!

Love! Death! Heroism! Villainy! All in one little issue! But this arc has two issues left.

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