[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Dave Justus & Lilah Sturges
Artist: Travis Moore
Coloring: Michael Wiggam
This issue begins a new arc and in doing so, gives the creative team to chance to reintroduce the reader to the cast and provide new readers with enough exposition to make them feel at home within the first few pages.
In Plano, TX, a young woman has come home from a business trip expecting to find her house empty and the expected privacy that comes with that. She’s surprised when her son is home, and she has to surreptitiously hide the nondescript manila envelope she was trying to examine. This envelope is a dossier on The Shadow Players – Feathertop, Bo, Peter, Hansel and Connor. After a quick recap of her son’s weekend and the promise that he’s going to hang out with some friends, the young woman, Inola Tanner, has her own errands to run. This gives her son Garrett and his two friends the opportunity to search the house. Garrett believes that his mom is some sort of spy and he and his friends uncover a cache of magical items which they appropriate for school on Monday.
A lunchroom incident has probably been related numerous times over the years to parents when they’ve asked “what happened at school, today?” To say that things got out of hand is an understatement. The carnage turns into a hostage situation as the three boys use the artifacts for their desires. Inola figures out that she needs help and managers to contact Feathertop and the Fables show up to try and put a stop to what’s happening without further loss of life.
Recapping the status quo for the reader with the use of the dossier is clever and effective. It also reframes the purpose of The Shadow Players which in turn provides a freshness to the series. Since Inola is meeting them for the first time it allows the reader to do the same in way. One of the things that we learn is that Inola is working for a counter group to Feathertop and she’s willing to help turn this group over to Feathertop. Additionally, Inola was the one who shot Connor back on the boat in San Francisco Bay a few issues back. Seeing Inola as a mother first immediately generates a great deal of sympathy for her despite the fact that she’s working for a group that opposes Feathertop.
This issue was very strong. While it didn’t have the same Fables feel as last issue, the tone is very much what Everafter: From the Pages of Fables has been from the beginning.
This is a great jumping on point for new readers and it feels like a reset for those who are not new. It allows the reader to be captivated in a new way and may even function as a better introduction to the series than issue #1. The newly introduced Inola Tanner presents a different challenge for the reader- pulling for an antagonist!