Bill Willingham's Fables
series has now been running for about ten years - hard to believe. While I think he has yet to capture the momentum of some of the more epic moments during the war against the Adversary, and the series has had a few fumbles since that arc ended, Willingham still manages to pull out grand ideas with each new story arc, even if they don't always quite live up to their potential.
This volume brings to an end the Mister Dark storyline. To be honest, I'm glad, since we really didn't need another Dark Lord for the Fables to fight. It was almost as if Willingham was thinking, "Well hell, now that the Adversary has been defeated, who will pose an existential threat to the Fables for the next hundred issues?" Then perhaps he realized that the series doesn't necessarily need a steady stream of existential threats.
So, since the Fables are all about mythology, and power fueled by mundy belief, it was inevitable that sooner or later we'd get superheroes. But the notion is really only flirted with here, as Willingham I think wanted to give tribute to some of his legendary inspirations. The plan to go up against Mister Dark with a hand-picked team of Fable "superheroes," complete with four-color costumes, was as entertaining as it was silly, but in the end, what we got was a deux ex machina and a heroic sacrifice. It was rather an abrupt resolution, but it killed several birds with one stone, and left enough loose ends for plenty of new stories. (Like our dear treacherous Miss Sprat, and the continuing Cult of Boy Blue, and the rather obvious "mystery" of Beauty and the Beast's child, and do I sense a hint of a Pinocchio/Ozma ship?)
There were two secondary stories in this volume: one starring Bufkin the no-longer-flying monkey, who apparently is going to get an entire story arc of his own, and one involving the sleeping city that was once the capital of the Empire, back in the Homelands, and the fate of Sleeping Beauty, with yet another ominous plot seed laid for the future.Fables
has not yet completely worn out its freshness, and Willingham has said he's going to continue it as long as he can, so I imagine there are still a few good years left in it.