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Fables Vol 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days) (2006) Bill Willingham

Volume 7 of Fables struck me as somehow different from previous volumes. Although there is a complete story arc about the Sinbad and the Arabian Fables coming to Fabletown, that story seemed almost secondary to several different different threads that were dropped or mentioned in passing. It will be very interesting to see where these threads end up.

As for the rest of the story (or stories as the case may be), I’m still missing Bigby, and although we get a brief glimpse of Snow White, she’s mostly busy being a mother. So the character I enjoyed the most in this collection was, again, Boy Blue. He’s still languishing in prison after his return from the Homelands–despite the fact that he returned with the artifacts, the true Little Red Riding Hood, and some other items of interest. In this too Prince Charming–the current mayor of Fabletown, fails to cover himself in glory. You almost want to feel sorry for him, since he’s having such a hard time of things–but he’s such a jerk that you really can’t.

I’m also confused by the brief Beauty story arc. What’s UP with that?

And I’m not sure how I feel about the concluding story–the tale of Rodney and June. It’s interesting, and very well done, but it felt abrupt, switching to two unknown characters and leaving all the current stories behind.

However, there were several things that I did very much like. Of course there is the Boy Blue story arc. He is turning out to be one of my favorite characters–especially with Bigby gone. And I like Mowgli. He doesn’t have a prominent story arc, but I find him interesting.

And I like the way the Red Riding Hood arc is going; she’s been drug from her home and dumped into an unfamiliar land, surrounded by people who don’t trust her only become someone else impersonated her. I like how she is slowly coming to terms with her new life, and the people around her.

As far as the artwork, I love the side panels–they’re just neat. But I still don’t necessarily like the way some of the characters faces look. Snow White looks to old and haggard, Prince Charming looks less charming than expected, and sometimes Beast’s face just looks weird.

So although the Arabian Fables story arc is interesting, as is the Boy Blue story arc, this book mostly felt like a set-up for later stories; stories that will continue for some time to come. If you haven’t yet read any of the Fables, this probably isn’t the place to start. The story is good, but previous stories are much strong, and most of the minor story arcs require a greater knowledge of past books than you can really get from the brief list of characters in the beginning–although those are very helpful when it’s been several months since you last read about any of the characters. So if you’re intersted in Fables, go back and start at the beginning. With graphic novels, it’s easy enough to do.
Rating: 6/10

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