Another Fables Instant Classic One-Shot
This is actually only the second time ever I’ve read a new Fables book as it was released. #137 was my first. I am one of the many who jumped on late in the series after having caught up on the previous 136 issues. But however long it took me, it was all worth it because this book has become one of my absolute favorites, one that I have come to anticipate more than almost anything else! The characters, the ongoing story lines, the intrigue and betrayal! The length of this series really lends itself to Willingham and Buckingham’s creative strengths, starting out as an unusual and kitschy concept, but developed into something so much more. The creator’s abilities to tell slow burning stories that are in no way droll astounds me.
In this issue, we read yet another in medias res one-shot story that shows us what Geppetto has been up to since Mr. Dark’s demise. It has guest art from Russ Braun and a beautiful cover by Christopher Moeller. As I said before, I read the back issues of Fables all at once, and in something of a rush, so it takes me some context to recall events like the ones that occur in this issue. Even when Willingham, as the narrator, broke the wall and said “Remember when this happened a few months back?” I ashamedly didn’t recall.. But before long they showed a quite memorable scene between Snow White and Bigby from Geppetto’s perspective that even I couldn’t have forgotten. When Bigby and Snow where intimate in the forest and they wake up naked in the midst of the sacred grove. Snow’s undergarments are placed on one of the former-wooden-soldier-turned-tree’s nose and it appeared to be wearing a smirk, something upon which Snow White remarks. They run into Geppetto outside the forest forest and that’s more or less where the events of this issue begin.
The story follows the adventure of a loyal toy soldier, embarking on the most honored of quests to please his mighty creator, and shows the dangers he must face to accomplish his mission. Fables usually makes me laugh, but this issue was packed with nonstop lols and I couldn’t get enough. We see our little hero face off against behemoth monsters in his eyes, but would appear only as sweet and small forest and stream fauna to us tall-folk. Two segments that split my sides: When the wooden knight faces off against a frog-dragon and briefly loses his composure and is eaten, only to gain reprieve a moment later when the frog realizes that his afternoon snack can’t be digested. Most of us would count our blessings and run, but no, our hero deals the deathblow on his opponent like any loyal knight would. “The only thing Sir Woldred will provide to fill your belly is a good inch of empire steel!” A good inch. Ha. The second segment was in a brief one page montage showing his later trials and his progress on his mission. He sees a bird fly over head and says “Woodpecker! Every diminutive wooden knight’s bane!” At first I saw the bird and thought, in context, he only hides from this beast because he wishes not to be carried off and delayed from his duties, but I didn’t recognize the marks of a woodpecker who of course would attack our hero on sight.
This issue does what Fables one-shots are meant to accomplish. They provide key exploration into characters that have not been heavily involved in recent story arcs, they give guest artists a chance to take a stab at the action and they take strides in setting up further plot development in the aforementioned slow burning story lines that the Fables creators are so fond of.
Pick up this issue if you are following Fables of late, and if not, start from issue #1 like me and get caught up!