For all you Fables fans out there, especially the ones who’ve stuck by the fairy tale series since it launched over ten years ago, here’s something I’d like to know: how do you feel about the way your beloved series is petering out, here, at the end of its long life? These aren’t fighting words; I’m feeling the disappointment, too—and I only hopped on board the title after most of its greatest events had already passed.

But as we draw closer to the 150th issue that will mark the end of Fables, it’s astounding how much anticlimax we’re experiencing along the way. As if the pathetic deaths of Beast and Ozma weren’t underwhelming enough, Willingham then does away with the mastermind of this whole Bigby situation in one sudden, even more pitiful stroke. On the plus side, that leaves us with a far more interesting antagonist on our hands, even if it bankrupts our investment in other parties for the last arc or so.

No one’s exactly mourning the death of Leigh Duglas. Ever since her svelte transformation, she’s been nothing more than a shrewish schemer leeching off the power and skills of others to carry out her petty vengeance. Her sudden boost of magic power didn’t quite make up for her thin motivations, and it definitely doesn’t make up for her lack of brains when she so, so stupidly wears her glass Bigby ring at a public meeting with Fabletown’s higher-ups. Frankly, I’m surprised no one but Rose notices.

Anyway, Rose acts on her insight very quickly—maybe too quickly. Just when Leigh seems to be deep into her plans, arguing against the Fabletown council’s decision to put down Bigby and haranguing Cole for not supporting her despite letting him put his “flaccid ancient member in my mouth,”* Rose shows up and runs Leigh through without much hesitation. Thus ends Fabletown’s lamest enemy.

But what exactly is going on with Rose here? We know she’s been exponentially accumulating power from unsavory sources for a while now, but it’s still unclear how and why. Her vision of Hope and Boy Blue (and a couple other individuals I don’t recognize) offer few answers, but several hints. Apparently, Rose’s conflict with Snow is inevitable, part of a “tontine,” “eternal generational struggle,” and “cycle” that won’t be fully explained until next issue—and about time, too.

More disturbing, however, is her visitors’ conviction that Rose will be the victor in this battle. Prophecies don’t go unfulfilled in Fables, but I hope there’s a mistake of some kind because there’s no way you can get behind Rose’s victory as she is now. It’s clear her blood-red appearance and nasty behavior (“No wonder Snow got all wet for you. You beast. Never really understood the attraction before now, but—) are being driven by a higher power, but that would only make Snow’s death at her hands more tragic, not less.

You know what I’m about to say in regards to the art, right? Buckish! The story comes through clearly, each moment gets its proper emotional beat, and yet none of the visuals will stay with you once seen. That’s the Buckingham way.

The stubborn conventionality of Buckingham’s art can be even more clearly seen when contrasted to Jae Lee’s distinctively lanky artwork in the back-up. Even though his delicate, webby lines almost sink under June Chung’s heavy colors in certain panels, Lee’s art has that a flair and style that’s memorable, at least. It’s more worth remembering than the back-up’s story, which basically tells you Charming and his latest wife (unnamed in the issue, but presumably Nalayani) will be fighting the good fight against Fable dictators indefinitely, even if they happen to be old friends. A happy ending, indeed!

Some Musings:

* You know what, Leigh? Anyone who has that little sexual dignity kind of deserves to die.

– Seeing a bluebird perched victoriously over a pterodactyl’s corpse is probably one of the better visuals Fables has offered to date.

 

Grade

C

Conclusion

Another issue, another lame death. We can only pray Fables doesn't end on the lamest one of all, though the signs are pointing that way.