by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Bill Willingham, Art by Lan Medina
Published: September 2002
I’ve been making my way through Fables slowly, but each time I come back to it, I instantly remember the characters and the plotline. That’s testament to how memorable and unique it is, I think, and this time around is no different. The murder mystery plot continues, with Bigby playing the grizzled detective (the best kind!) working through the case of what happened to Rose Red.
The series is still rich with fairy tale and folk lore references, used effectively to create memorable and distinctive characters, both visually and through their speech patterns. What strikes me in particular about issue #3 is just how dark these characters have the potential to be. The grim (no pun intended) nature of the original tales, which were often intended to be didactic stories to impart harsh morals on children, really begins to leak through here in the most subtle ways. Several characters are said to have “reformed,” but as Bigby shuffles through suspects, their past crimes are brought up again and again as possible motivation for murdering Rose Red.
Each character struggles to contain their nature, and this becomes a major turning point of the plot near the end of the issue, where certain characters “regress” to their fairy tale origins. It’s a compelling look at the politics of nature, and it gives the series a certain tension it had only previously hinted at. This fabletown world expands and deepens with each issue, and it continues to be a rich one to explore.
Snow White and Bigby’s partnership is a fun one, too–they’re both interesting on their own, but together they make a tough, no-nonsense team, and I’m eager to follow their adventures into issue 4. This issue ends on a cliffhanger of sorts–more a revelation than anything, but it promises to lead into some interesting twists and turns for next time.