Review: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #9

by Matthew Lloyd
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[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writers: Dave Justus & Lilah Sturges
Artist: Travis Moore
Coloring: Michael Wiggam

This issue opens in Plano, TX at base camp as we meet a couple of new Shadow Players that Feathertop has assembled to deal with the situation at the high school — Thomas and T.J., a human and anthropomorphic frog. Or, Toad.  Toad, Jr.? Feathertop arrives with two more new players, Bobby Speckland, the world’s first human Fable to appear after the Everaftering, and his guardian, Kara Bass. Thomas is immediately smitten with Ms. Bass. Feathertop steers everything back on course and Bobby is tasked with trying to negotiate with the kids holed up in the school.

Bobby convinces the boys to let him in and then the place goes to all to hell. The rest of the Shadow Players are attacked by marauding cattle in various states of mutilation. Feathertop immediately orders Bo and Connor to get Inola Tanner to safety, and sends Peter on a separate reconnaissance mission to Tanner’s home. Back at Shadow Players HQ we get a brief interlude that shows a lady who is apparently trying to keep up with all the new Fables. She’s trying to write all the new fables down. She has an assistant, Safrin, who seems unable to speak.

Bo and Connor get Inola to a safe house that Inola has kept secret from her masters, or so she thinks. The issue ends with T.J. picking up a transmission from inside the school and decoding it. What is learned completely turns the story on its side. In a good way….

The ending certainly adds an unexpected wrinkle to an already interesting story. The lade at HQ is another addition that appears to have some potential, but what happens if she can’t keep up because the Fables are coming too fast? Her section also includes a few mentions of things we’ve seen, but have yet to be explored. This seems to say, “we will get back to this!” There is a funny moment early in the issue as Kara Bass gets a dig at Peter, with a Jethro Tull comment. As the cast expands, there is more opportunity to create more diverse connections. However…

…it seems the cast may be getting a bit too big without exploring characters deeply enough before introducing more new characters. The only other thing that holds this issue back is the introduction of some of these new characters without adequate exposition. It can be done unobtrusively. With so many fairly tale and folklore characters out there, it can sometimes be troubling if one can’t identify them quickly. This happens with Thomas and T.J. as well as Safrin and the lady at Shadow Players HQ who is attempting to keep up with the literary aspect of all the new Fables in the world. It’s strange that this creeps up after last issue introduced all characters new and familiar effectively. While this is not a huge drawback, it just makes one feel a little distance from the characters and the world. However, Bobby Speckland and Kara Bass did get a significant introduction, and it’s easy to feel the difference in their connectivity to the reader.

The plot and concepts are truly interesting and exciting! However, the cast is growing so quickly, it’s hard to latch on to anyone for long. I would like to see this book explore the concepts more completely before introducing another great idea. I want to enjoy the great ideas fully, before something else replaces it.

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