been a very long time since I reviewed a volume in Bill Willingham's
imaginative Fables series. I read all the Jack of Fables spin-off arc
and then came back to the main story through volume 13: The Great Fables Crossover.
Now that Jack is out of the limelight and the Literals seem to have been banished, the story returns to the destroyed Fabletown, the Farm, and the regained Homelands. I was happy to see familiar faces and to get a hint at where the main story may be going.
This post assumes you've read the previous volumes, but there are no spoilers for Fables 14: Witches. Click on the scans to see them full size.
- What happens? There are three story lines. One focuses on Frau Totenkinder, Ozma, and the other spellcasters; one takes us to the lost Fabletown Business Office, where Bufkin has been trapped; and the other takes us to Ambrose in the conquered Homelands.
- The witches: The power seems to be shifting on the thirteenth floor, as Frau Totenkinder takes on her youthful form and leaves (in secret, she thinks) the mundie world in hopes of finding a way to conquer Mr. Dark. Meanwhile Ozma is plotting a way to take advantage of Totenkinder's absence.
- Bufkin: Stuck in the Business Offices with only Franky and the Magic Mirror to talk to, Bufkin is getting restless. When he discovers that Baba Yaga has gotten free, he realizes it's up to him to defeat her. He is at a loss until the Magic Mirror reminds him of all his book learning
- Ambrose/Fly: Although he's determined to have a negative-free kingdom, Ambrose soon learns that it will be impossible. Forced to dispense justice from the throne, he struggles with how he can remain kind yet strong.
- Thoughts on the story: I'm so happy to be back to the old Fables. I love the mix of humor (much of it adult) and action. Some of the characters are truly frightening, but then we see a puppy Dalmatian (one of the 101!), and he's just so darn cute (see the scan above right) we temporarily forget Mr. Dark. It was fascinating to see Bufkin in a new light, to learn the Magic Mirror's story, and to see Ambrose find some peace and balance. Although the collection doesn't end on a major cliffhanger, the seeds are planted for the next volume, and I can't wait to read it.
- Artwork: The illustrations in Witches are great. I love the rich colors and the characters were well drawn. I haven't been a fan of all the artwork in the past, but this volume is a winner. The bad guys look bad, the creatures are expressive, and the action is easy to pick up on. Bravo to the team of artists, which includes Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Lees Loughridge, and Todd Klein. The cover is by Joao Ruas, who also created the covers for the individual issues (see the scan to the left).
Source: Bought (see review policy)
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