Oct 27, 2008

Fables: The Mean Seasons and Homelands by Bill Willingham

After all the action and plot development of March of the Wooden Soldiers, Fables #5, The Mean Seasons, returns to a slower pace and is mostly marked by character development. Which isn’t to say that lots of interesting things don’t happen in it.

We learn more about Cinderella and about Bigby Wolf’s past, we see Fabletown elect a new mayor, and we get to meet Snow White’s children. We also see the Fables universe expand even further – I was happy to see references to Frankenstein and to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I love the fact that Bill Willingham’s concept of a “Fable” is wide enough to include anything that populates our so-called collective imagination.

In volume six, Homelands, we return to some serious plot development, but not before a short interlude that follows Jack after his departure from Fabletown. Now that I’ve read this book I can finally pick up those Jack of Fables spin offs that I’ve had my eye on for a while. After leaving Jack behind, we follow Boy Blue as he makes his way back to the Homelands, and the identity of the Adversary is finally revealed.

As I mentioned in one of my Read-a-thon posts, the Adversary’s identity didn’t really surprise me, and although at 4am my brain couldn’t quite figure out why this was the case, I now think it was because there were enough clues in the previous books. It’s just that I’d momentarily forgotten all about them. But I’ll say no more about this, because I don’t want to give too much away. In fact, writing about Fables has become increasingly difficult for this reason. I want to keep my posts as spoiler-free as possible, but that very much limits what I can say about the books.

I loved both The Mean Seasons and Homelands, but for different reasons. As far as the main plot of the series is concerned, The Mean Seasons stales a bit, but I really enjoyed the book’s more personal feel and the character development. Plus there was an incredibly sad and touching moment at the end of the book, and like Fyrefly, I found myself tearing up.

But as much as I enjoy learning more about the characters, it’s also nice to see the story more forwards, and Homelands did just that. Also, Mowgli made an appearance! I knew he’d been around because we’d seen Bagheera and Shere Khan before, but it was exciting to actually see him enter the story – and in a way that suggests we’ll see plenty more of him in the future.

I know this isn’t much of a post, but I think I’ll stop here, because if I continue to blab I will undoubtedly say too much. Parting thoughts: I really love this series. Lovely art, smart storytelling, full-fleshed characters and a gazillion fairy tale references. What more could I ask for?

Reviewed at:

Fyrefly's Book Blog (The Mean Seasons)
Fyrefly's Book Blog (Homelands)
Everyday Reads (The Mean Seasons)
Everyday Reads (Homelands)
Biblio File (Volumes 1-7)
The Written World (The Mean Seasons)
The Written World (Homelands)

Let me know if I missed yours.


  1. Don't let my stoic exterior fool you; I totally teared up when Bigby & Snow were in the park, as well as at the end. :)

    I'm all antsy to get my hands on Vol. 6 - one of my library's two copies is due back tomorrow, so I keep checking my holds list to see if it's in yet.

  2. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that when he was coming up with fable concepts, Willingham's main concern was copyrights, heehee. He manages to be so creative with the storylines! I am looking forward to reading more in this series.

  3. I'm pretty new to Fables and I bought one of the series the other day... I love it that the comics is in colour and so different from the other mangas I read, Nymeth. :)

  4. What do you mean this wasn't much of a post?!! You managed to get me all fired up here, dying to get my hands on the start of this series.

  5. I've seen this series before, and now I might have to get around to reading them. :)

  6. Fyrefly, I hope you manage to get your hands on Homelands soon! Can't wait to hear what you think.

    Kim: lol, that doesn't surprise me :P He really is very creative.

    Melody: I'm happy to hear you'll be reading this series! Isn't the art beautiful?

    Debi: I bet you'll enjoy it :D

    bookchronicle, I hope you enjoy them!

  7. I'm not a big fan of coloured comics,I much prefer black and white.But it sounds like this is a must read series, so I'll keep it in mind!

  8. I do love this series so. I will say that the latest Jack of Fables (The Bad Prince) should be read after reading the latest Fables (The Good Prince). As you can guess from the titles, there's some interplay going on!

  9. i have so got to get into this...! i think i told you, i read one issue about 6 years ago and have always been meaning to pick up the trades... will do soon!

    glad to hear its still good by the vol.6 stage.

  10. Charles Vess do with colour. Anyway, I think you'll enjoy Fables!

    Jennie, thanks for letting me know about that. It will probably take me some time to get to the latest Fables book, let alone catch up on the spin offs :P

    JP: Yes you do! So far, it keeps getting better and better!

  11. I'm so happy you like the series, Nymeth! I started reading the books a couple of months ago and love them!

    I told myself if I get the grades I need this semester I will splurge and buy myself the series.(My library only have the series until volume five, so now I'm stuck waiting for them to get the rest or buy them myself.)

  12. Vasillis: I hope you do get the grades you need! These are definitely worth owning. I don't have access to a library that has comics of any kind here, so I always have to buy them if I want to read them. The bad part is that they're expensive, so even if I want to read them all one after the other, I always have to wait some time before I can buy another one. The good part is that I get to keep them :P

  13. I'm sorry I can't read your post as I really don't want to spoil the story as I have only read the first 4. I hope to get completely up to date by the end of January at the latest. I saw enough to see that you are still hooked which is the main thing.

  14. Yep, definitely still hooked!


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