No Mean Story
Willingham does a fine job of economy with the main story of this collection. Once again Cinderella's one-shot spy story with Ichabod Crane is presented outside of its original chronology, which doesn't matter to the history of the series or enjoyment of any collection it is in. The two-part Bigby in WW2 story is overly graphic, though many no doubt laud its "authenticity" for a WW2 story. The mixture of gritty combat and Universal Picture horror tribute is interesting (though I could have done without the blood), especially once the identity of Bigby's "souvenir" is revealed, and typical of the freedoms Willingham has created for his Fables universe. The Mean Seasons is a good use of economy, as Willingham presents an impressive small-scale story protracted over an entire year, with many reveals adding depth to the universe. Though it seems every major story is designed to change everything, even when we aren't all that used to how the Fables universe "used to be," the characterization and revelations work well together to assure us the characters are themselves coping with these changes in character. The farewell scene between Snow and Bigby is impressive, as these two star-crossed Fables still can't seem to make it right, even with a half-dozen kids (or so). The transitions in Fabletown in the new administration don't make as much sense considering it's supposedly been several months, but there is enough mimetic quality to keep it all engaging, even with the pervasive sorrowful developments. Things are never "the same" after a major storyline, but this is definitely a drastic and irreversible shift in the Fables universe - and it's a good ride.