Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days) (vol. 7)
By: Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (Pencils), Steve Leialoha (Inks), Jim Fern (Pencils), Jimmy Palmiotti (Inks), Andrew Pepoy (Inks)
Format/Source: Paperback; my brother’s copy
Collecting issues #42-47 of writer Bill Willingham’s Eisner Award-winning creation, FABLES: ARABIAN NIGHTS (AND DAYS) opens a new front in the struggle between the Fables and the Adversary as the worlds of the Arabian Fables are invaded — leading to an unprecedented diplomatic mission to Fabletown and a bad case of culture shock! This seventh volume of the popular Vertigo series also includes “The Ballad of Rodney and June,” the 2-part story of forbidden love among the Adversary’s wooden soldiers, and features stellar Art by Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Jim Fern, Jimmy Palmiotti and Andrew Pepoy.
It’s been a few months since I’ve last read a collected volume of Fables, so here we are. We got volumes 7 and 8 recently, so I read them around Christmas time 😉 Contains spoilers if you haven’t read the first 6 volumes of the series!
I found this issue to be a little different in that there’s a lot of Fable diplomacy involved: a diplomatic group from the eastern Fables had come to Fabletown to talk with the Mayor about the Adversary and what’s going on in the Homelands. There’s a bit of a bungle involved, some close calls, and some major culture clash going on as both sides struggle to understand each other. It was interesting to see the eastern Fables introduced at this time, both story-wise and in expanding the world.
The story was also a great way to draw in the administration of Fabletown and the stress that’s been heaped on since taking the job. We’ve all seen Prince Charming bemoan about the job and Beauty and Beast wade through the issues that Snow and Bigby faced day in and day out, but there’s something about this story where their job affects them personally. I never thought I’d come to a point where I’d see Charming sleep in a cooped up, dungeon-like room because he works so late at the office that he’s trying to cut travel time (and avoiding the usual complaints in the process). The confrontation between Charming and Beauty shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it sort of was.
Overall, this issue was interesting, but it feels like it’s setting up events for the next issue (or later story arcs?) while still following up from the revelations revealed in the last volume. “The Ballad of Rodney and June” was also interesting enough as it shows events from the other side of the conflict, albeit it did take me a while to warm up to it. Nonetheless it was another fantastic issue that left me eager for the next!