The Mean Seasons

Author: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham and Tony Akins
Titan Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84576 032 8
Available 22 April 2005

With the Battle of Fabletown won, and the surrounding city of New York none the wiser, the Fables have gained a little time for rebuilding and reflection - in between the interrogation of the Adversary's agent and the anticipation of Snow White's impending motherhood. For Bigby Wolf, the father of her soon-to-be new-borns, that means a visit with an old friend - and a reminiscence of another, even deadlier war. For the Mayor of Fabletown, it means a rude awakening to the harsh realities of civic administration - and its conflicting demands. And for Snow herself, it means a long, painful labour - and a series of joyous, heart wrenching surprises...

The Mean Seasons gathers together several interesting tales from the Fables stable (no pun intended). My personal favourite was Dog Company / Frankenstein Versus the Wolf Man. This two-parter tells the tale of Bigby Wolf and his actions during the Second World War. Only Bigby can destroy Hitler's latest weapon - the creation of the long dead professor Frankenstein, whose work is carried on by German scientists.

The rest of this collection deals with a regime change as King Cole is unseated from his throne as the Major of Fabletown. Snow White and Bigby are also forced to leave their positions as Beauty and the Beast are brought in to replace them. And while Snow plans to head back to Fabletown with her new offspring, Bigby is unable to do so. Will Snow give up everything to live with Bigby in the middle of nowhere? Or will she put her new children first?

There is some much needed (if brief) comic relief in the form of Flycatcher, and just what is Cinderella up to? Why would she fall head over heels in love with such an old misery as Ichabod Crane?

This is certainly a collection worth diving head first into. Another entertaining release from the Fables series.

Pete Boomer

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