As always when I review a book in a series, I reveal no spoilers for this novel but I assume you've read the earlier titles.
Bill Willingham's Fables 5: The Mean Seasons focuses mostly on Bigby Wolf. In several short stories, we learn of his work to protect Fabletown from the enemy who drove the characters out of their homeland. We also read of Bigby's activities during World War II. The principal episode in Fables 5, however, is a more personal look at Bigby and Snow White.
Between Fabletown's mayoral election and political upheaval and Snow White's going into labor, Bigby has a lot on his mind. He is about to become a father for the first time (that he knows about!) and meanwhile must work with Beast (as in Beauty and) to make sure the post-election administration team can handle their new duties.
When Snow's babies turn out to be a mix of human and wolf, she realizes she must move to the Farm, where animal fable characters live away from the prying eyes of the Mundies (humans). The only problem is that Bigby's been banned from the Farm. Fortunately for Snow, she finds much help and support in her new home--some from a surprising source. She also learns a little bit about Bigby's childhood.
Each entry in the Fables series gets more complex and imaginative. Willingham's fairytale creatures are based on the stories you remember but are also much more than that. They've had centuries of experiences since the events that made them household names. They've changed, they've grown, and they are not necessarily what they seem. Throughout these very adult graphic novels, Willingham peppers the violence and harsh realities of Fabletown with humor, both verbal and visual.
In the scan shown here (click to enlarge) Snow is talking to her sister, Rose Red, about Bigby.
Fables 5: The Mean Seasons was drawn by a team of artists: Mark Buckingham, Tony Akins, Steve Leialoha, Jimmy Palmiotti, Daniel Vozzo, and Todd Klein. The characters are consistently portrayed and their emotions and action are clearly presented. Many panels have fascinating details, and readers will linger over the illustrations.
Give it to me quickly: Some of Bigby's past is revealed in this entry in the Fables series, which is an adult look at how familiar fairy tale characters cope with the modern world and troubles from their past.
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