Fables on a Smaller Scale
Though it might seem that 2010's deluxe edition is a bit shorter than the first release, with only 8 issues of Fables instead of 10, the inclusion of the longer "The Last Castle" makes up for the few issues. For the first time (in the deluxe series) we see some stand-alone stories expanding the backstories and contemporaneous time of the Fables. The series is still in the "getting to know you exposition" phase, before the major status-changing storylines to come, which is helpful for readers, in that it gives us time to get used to and remember who these characters are in these versions we don't quite yet know. The emphasis on Bigby and Snow White seems dominate again, as if they are the main characters in this series, but more supporting characters get fleshed out here, especially Prince Charming. Perhaps the best moments of characterization are given to Bluebeard in the two-part caper story, in which his intimidation and intensity are shown to be bravado in the face of "real" men and not unarmed wives. "The Last Castle" is a good story, in that it gathers a lot of miscellaneous characters from various stories together, albeit for a rather Alamo-like ending. The "Wold in the Fold" short story is a nice little touch and good to have, but it doesn't add much other than another variation (or accretion) to the first encounter of Bigby and Snow White. Bill Willingham certainly shows off his knowledge of storyland again, with Feathertop from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Madagao and Bornegascar from Aesop, and the Redcrosse Knight and Britomart from Spenser.