|Amazon // Vertigo Fables // Comic Vine|
As Snow White slowly recovers from a bullet to the brain, she and Bigby spend a lot of time in each other's company. But when they announce that they'll be vacationing together, all of Fabletown is shocked...and not just because Snow White has never taken a holiday before. The twosome's sudden departure from New York City -- and the deadly peril they're about to fall into -- is surely no match for the ruthless enemy who's still lurking in the back woods.
This volume also includes the special FABLES: THE LAST CASTLE, we learn of the great war that forced Bigby Wolf, Prince Charming and Bluebeard to leave their homeland in search of a safe haven. As the battle rages, we meet a mysterious woman in red, and learn why Snow White's deputy, Little Boy Blue, only plays the blues on his trumpet.
**Obviously spoilers for the first volume are included in this review**
This volume, which contains issues 11-18, as well as the stand alone prestige format "The Last Castle" special, began what became my favorite relationship ever in almost any series. Plus a dirty bastard gets his, histories are spoken of and betrayals are set into motion. Unlike the first volume this has a lot more short story arcs.
"In Bag o'Bones", a tale about one of my least favorite character (Jack of the Tales aka Jack and the Beanstalk), though it does illustrate a good point about never trusting a scoundrel. Set during the Civil War era we get to see Jack being devious and lowdown, trading insults with the Devil himself, finding a peace of Heaven (with a shrew attached) and then almost losing it all. Its all right, and possibly one of the few times I could stand to read about him.
"A Sharp Operation (a two part caper)" The Fabletown residents find themselves having to protect themselves against one really persistent pest. I love this--its fun and winsome, but then you have parts like when Bluebeard tries to challenge Bigby and Bigby basically saying 'You're not worth my time'. We get a bit of backstory about several of the cast, as well as a set up for things to come in the next arc.
"Storybook Love" which is awesome on more levels then I can begin to count because of how it sets up SO MUCH of the coming issues, re-introduces Goldilocks (who is hard as hell to...oh spoiler there), proves a tiger can't change his stripes (why hello there Bluebeard), gives us an idea of just how freaking awesome Bigby can be and oh yeah begins the relationship to end all relationships (Bigby and Snow).
I will point out I was less keen on how Bigby looks in this arc--he looks hairy instead of scruffy, but all in all very much worth it. Also this line from Prince Charming "This? Just a dead body. Nothing to worry yourself about." is priceless coupled with "I'm not sure you should be dumping bodies just anywhere y'grace."
"Barleycorn Brides" is a cute and interesting tale about the Lilliputians army and their needing womenfolk. Its a nice bit of history with interesting cameos by the main cast in old timey garb.
"The Last Castle" which, when it first came out I thought was just a side tale with little relevance to the actual plot (boy was I wrong ahahaha) is a sad tale, made even sadder in hindsight. Little Boy Blue recounts the tale of the last boat the left the Homelands and the brave soldiers who fought to make sure those on board could make it to safety to Snow White (who apparently hasn't heard the tale).
A lot of interest folks pop up in here--Robin Hood and his Miry Men, Tam Lin and the cow from "And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon", Britomart and the tale is set in the Castle that was 'East of the Sun and West of the Moon'. Its an affecting tale, with an ending that is heartbreaking with its irony.
There is also a short story called "A Wolf in the Fold", that details when Bigby first met Snow (as mentioned during "Storybook Romance"), sketches and cover variants as well. All in all this is well worth the money and as a hardcover its simply gorgeous.