Review: Fables #152
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Todd Klein
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
“In which a corpse talks to a fellow whose name isn’t Joe, and a creature who may be an old god has a conversation with a wood-carver who might possibly once been the uncredited leader of a vast empire.”
It’s often said, “you can’t go home again.” However, when this phrase was coined, Fables #152 hadn’t been published. Like last issue, the magic is back (pun intended!) from creators Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Lee Loughridge and Todd Klein. The art from Buckingham, Leialoha and Loughridge is so evocative of this series that just seeing the pages immediately transports the reader to the world of Fables. I could heap praise upon praise on this team for the beauty, subtlety and sensitivity in their work, but the most important aspect for this issue is the sense that the reader is back in that familiar world. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t surprises, verily surprises abound. There are mysteries afoot! But, the art gives that sense of familiarity that one gets when returning home.
Willingham has four plotlines that he touches on. interestingly, all four have a mystery element to them as some begin to interweave. The resurrection that commenced last issue comes fully to fruition and it’s a return for a favorite. Keeping the reader on his/her toes is important and Fables #152 does that with the developments we get. Both new characters, Jack-in-the-Green and the as yet unnamed young man both drive the stories through their character. The new Jack continues to address the ideas of legacy, old vs new and replacement characters which are things that are routinely argued amongst comic fans. We don’t have a connection to the old Jack, but it appears that both of these characters will end up working together in some fashion.
The sequence with Geppetto and the as yet unnamed other new character is quite surprising. Just as the wood-carver seems to be making plans to cause more trouble…well, let’s not spoil it. However, Tinkerbell is along for the ride and assisting this newcomer. This of course leads one to believe that this is Peter Pan. The end of Fables #152 leads one to believe it’s NOT Peter. Another Lost Boy? Someone else entirely who’s captured Tink? The mystery is what makes this so good! It’s been a hallmark of Fables since the beginning of the series. There’s always something to keep the reader coming back.
While new readers could pick up with this new run, there are some obvious mysteries from the first 150 issues that are hinted at and it would be terrible for them to be ruined. So, quickly. go read the first 150 issues and come back for this series if you are new to Fables.
Being able to recapture the magic of a series that’s been on hiatus can be difficult. It’s probably a good thing that the creative team had a chance to step away and come back fresh and renewed. It doesn’t always work. However, Fables #152 shows that it’s working here. I’ll quickly run out of superlatives for the relaunch of this much-lauded and award winning series.