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Customer Review

on 14 March 2007
After the comparatively benign and very romantic Wolves, this spin-off from Fables features the incorrigible Jack plus that decidedly nasty character 'Goldilocks', plus what qualifies as an 'evil conspiracy'--against the folks we have come to like and Fabletown as a whole-- giving this set of tales a decidedly nasty character. I love nasty conspiracies. Won't tell you how this one ends, but for one thing: it ain't over until it's over.

I mean, I knew Goldy wasn't killed by Snow White, despite the axe buried deeply in her skull, blood sloshing all over the place, plus the truck that collected her on the windshield and the plunge into the river. Goldilocks is hard to kill, because...

Well, I'm sure Bill Willingham has read Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and had Dahl's delinquent B&E girl in mind when he characterized Fables's Goldilocks. Because she is just about what you'd expect from the more grown-up young lady described by Roald Dahl as "Goldilocks, that little toad, That nosey thieving little louse, [who] Comes sneaking in your empty house...". But, of course, a 'Fable' survives partially on its popularity with the common folk, and Goldilocks is, after all, very popular.

Goldi was the one who shot Snow White in the head, but fortunately the latter also is very popular, and therefore survived for long enough to have Bigby Wolf's odd little cubs. Here we have one of the great antitheses of these stories. On one side the selfish, murderous Goldie, who led a bloody rebellion at 'The Farm', and turned out to be the worst of self-serving cynical ideological agitators in the stories. On the other a less-than angelic tough-chick Snow White, the right hand and executive mayor of 'Fabletown', who ran the show for centuries, before this thing with the cubs happened.

A similar contrast exists between Jack and Bigby Wolf. Jack is the charming cad, whose only interest is himself. Period. He isn't quite as nasty as the late Bluebeard, but take away the wife-killing fetish of the latter, the two are damn close. Whatever Jack does is for Jack's benefit. Egomania as a driving motive for action, ethics and everything else is fascinating. It isn't 'evil' per se--or maybe it is more evil than the 'evil' that's recognizable as such. I'm still pondering that one.

Contrast him to Bigby Wolf, a man who spent most of his life as a giant wolf--and still spends the occasional stretches of quality-time in that condition. At one time he was a creature of simple appetites, which went to killing whatever came his way. His father was the emotionally-distant 'North Wind', whom Bigby once describes as 'truly evil'. Bigby's animal nature was transformed and he was redeemed into becoming a human being through the intervention of Snow White, whose scent he could never forget since the first time he caught a whiff of her. Ever since then his life has been, in one way or the other, about her. Redemption by love and all that--ultimately for both of them, because Snow has her issues, too; all of which are called 'Prince Charming' or connected to that particular cad.

No such redemption for Jack, who is a true psychopath and therefore unredeemable. Same goes for Goldilocks, and so the story of Jack of Fables and the conspiracy plays out. As usual, cool stuff; this one on the nasty side.
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4.2 out of 5 stars