By: Mark Buckingham (story), Russ Braun (art), Lee Loughridge (colors)

The Story: Even a fox loses his charm once he turns human.

The Review: And we’re back! It’s been several months since the abysmal Mice and Men arc, and if I had any doubts at the time whether I was doing the right thing temporarily Dropping the series, I have none now. I’m in a much better spirit of mind than if I had forced myself to buy into Andreyko’s wandering, inconsequential storyline, and eager to check in with the less pressing side of the Fables universe, especially as we’re winding down to the series’ conclusion.

Since I’m still woefully deficient in my Fables history, I can’t confirm whether Prince Charming’s promise to provide glamours to all non-humanoid Fables was ever established before this issue, but it does lead to a solid plot for the Fables that tend to be overlooked. It’s true they don’t get enough respect; that will happen when you look like a walking sunflower in breeches or cat with a bonnet or some other anthropomorphized creature in medieval costume. Kind of hard not to see them as comical even when they have very real grievances.

Because Sunflower is right; it is unjust that of all the Farm Fables, only Reynard reaped the fruit of Charming’s promise, a fact made even bitterer by Reynard’s outrageous boasting. When you consider that the prince made the baseless promise solely to get elected and that the 13th Floor witches fulfilled it only in regards to Reynard as their own political maneuver (Ozma says it was to put Gepetto in his place), it’s hard not to conclude that the Farm Fables have been badly used.

As with any political debacle, finding a solution gets a lot more complicated once the politician’s been replaced. Poor Cole, already harried by the impending break-up of Fabletown and Rose’s incessant funding requests for her Camelot project, must now deal with this patently ridiculous problem, too. But even spurred to find a solution by the prospect of reelection, Ozma states very plainly that what the Farm Fables are asking for is quite impossible. Maybe Cole will engage in a bit of traditional statesmanship and dither until the problem disappears on its own. As one goose astutely points out,

“I can’t help feeling that the whole topic is moot now. Shouldn’t we be more concerned that in all likelihood we’ll simply pack up and return to the Homelands? I mean, what’s the point anymore? Isn’t it all going away?”

Meanwhile, Reynard’s not exactly having an easy go with his human life either, despite tall tales depicting him as a ginger Bond with Lady Maeve as his Bond girl. The reality is more along the lines of him being a carrot-topped Maxwell Smart (only perhaps even more bumbling) with Maeve hating his sorry guts. Therein lies the insecurity beneath all his bragging. Reynard claims he needs the right woman to inspire his foxy virtues from his human form, but you doubt that woman’s going to be Snow, The logic behind Reynard’s choice must be that having made it with one animal-turned-human, Snow might be willing to have a go with another? I suspect, however, that Reynard’s affections will be best laid on a newly introduced, unnamed redhaired girl living in a decidedly inbred part of Louisiana and longing for a handsome prince to rescue her from her Podunk family.

Braun delivers perfectly acceptable art, much like what Buckingham might have done himself, although there are strong traces of Shawn McManus’ bouncy, whimsical style in the way Braun draws the Farm Fables. Unlike McManus, Braun’s art doesn’t completely succumb to the topsy-turvy, but has enough realistic detail to give some credibility to the otherwise silly proceedings.

Conclusion: Fun and interesting, if a little inconsequential.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I love that Reynard sings a tune from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Great musical, if singing and dancing backwoodsmen is your thing. Also if the kidnapping of women is your thing. It’s that kind of musical.