Fables vol. 8: Wolves (Anglais) Broché – 6 décembre 2006
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Une fois de plus, Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham et Steve Leialoha nous propose un recueil (épisodes 48 à 51 de la série mensuelle) d'un très haut niveau. Les péripéties de Mowgli au pays des loups sont enchanteresses : page découpée en 4 cases laissant une grande place aux paysages sauvages, style d'illustrations se rapprochant de plus en plus du grand Jack Kirby, inventivité du scénario, retour à la nature... La mission de Bigby est ingénieuse et efficace et permet aux Fables exilées de gagner le temps nécessaire pour organiser une résistance efficace (je passerais sous silence un jugement valeur discutable sur Israël qui n'engage que Willingham) avec l'aide de nouveaux personnages des Fables. La conclusion des aventures de Bigby et Blanche Neige est évidente et elle reste très délectable. La mission de Cendrillon vient compléter le tout sur un ton plus léger avec des dessins de Shawn McManus en dessous de ceux de l'équipe habituelle, tout en étant très professionnels.Lire la suite ›
Ca délaye de plus en plus. Comme d'habitude, on ajoute une histoire courte à l'histoire principale, histoire de meubler. Plus ça avance et moins l'histoire avance. De plus la spécificité initiale (personnages de contes et légendes vivant dans notre monde) perd de son importance et l'histoire se banalise. Encore un album comme ça et moi j'arrête.
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The 2-party Wolves storline is the culmination of a story that started all the way back in the third trade paperback, when Bigby Wolf learned that he had impregnated Snow White. She eventually gave birth to his cubs, who were forced to live at the Farm due to their inhuman appearance. The Farm is an annex of Fabletown, a refugee colony for Fables in our mundane world. Fables that cannot pass for human are relegated to the Farm so that no "mundy" finds out about the existence of Fables. Bigby is not allowed to go to the farm due to the things that he has done to certain non-human Fables back in the Homelands, so he left Fabletown for good after Beast replaced him as sheriff. However, the new mayor, Prince Charming, realized that he would need Bigby's help for something important, and he employed Mowgli, of the Jungle Book, to get Bigby back. Wolves finally shows Mowgli's hunt for Bigby, showing two master hunters/trackers/wilderness survivors doing what they do best. The double-sized Issue 50 reveals why Charming needed Bigby, and brings together 2 Fables in marriage. Finally, the stand-alone story Big and small is a continuation of a story from the previous issue and showcases another one of Cinderella's missions. Cinderella may be perceived as a bratty store clerk by most other Fables, but in reality, she is a spy employed by the Sheriff's office who undertakes missions for the safety of Fabletown. Her latest mission is a diplomatic trip to the Cloud Kingdoms, which is where Jack had visited when he planted his magic beans.
Bill Willingham is a master of storytelling. He takes the characters from fairy tales we read growing up and twists them into new and compelling characters. Fables is a must read for any comics fan.
We've been hanging in there, pining away for more stories about the fates of the central characters in this ensemble cast, whom we met at the very beginning of the first story in the series. Ever since _The Mean Seasons_, when Bigby went away because the only person whose smell he likes (Remember he's a wolf: The Wolf!) couldn't decide to throw her lot in with him. Understandably, I suppose, because she was a practical girl and, let's face it, their history together had its ups and downs. She also had so cubs to take care of, and there were political issues with having Bigby around.
So we waited and waited (well, _I_ did!) and followed Boy Blue into the Homelands to reveal the Adversary, and the fates of an assortment of others dealing with folks from other cultures--all the while chuckling at Willingham's built-in jokes, very often of the political kind, and usually with a strong libertarian slant.
In _Wolves_ too, there a lot of implied politics and social commentary, but it all fades into insignificance before the central issues: where's Bigby, what's he been doing, and how is this thing with Snow going to play out? _Is_ it going to play out? Whatever happened to the aberrant 'Zephyr' cub of Bigby and Snow's; the one that kills living creatures because it likes their breath?
As a bonus there's also another story, involving that sexy spy, Cinderella; who is like a female James Bond, and so much nicer than that psycho Goldilocks (whom we're sure to meet again one day, even though she had an axe buried in her head last time we saw her plunge into a river).
As usual, the action is rough and tough, with few punches pulled; though in general the tone of the stories is gentler than those compiled into the previous two books. As fairytales for adults go, there is nothing better, and I'm of a mind, now that the story has gone the way it goes, to start the whole series all over again. It's great bedtime literature, and if, like me, you grew up with fairy tales, it's a homecoming of sorts. Thing is, in real life you can never go back--and often you really don't want to either--but FABLES on the whole takes me back to something familiar at the same time as it is firmly facing into the future.
On a purely professional basis and since I write novels and scripts myself, it was instructional to have the entire script to one of the 'episodes' collected into this volume added at the end. Been meaning to tackle this kind of medium myself, and for those similarly inclined there are valuable pointers for method and style.
Well I am well and truly hooked. This is my eighth graphic novel and I am more than satisfied. In order to get the full effect, of the series I recommend you start at the beginning. This book ties together several plotlines that have been developing in the comic for years. Mr. Willingham just keeps hitting balls out the park.
At this point if you're new to the series, be apprised there are spoilers ahead.
When we last left Bigby Wolf, disgusted about being unable to live with his family, he has disappeared. Prince Charming, Mayor of Fabletown, needs him back. He and the Travellers have devised a plan to strike back at Adversary as retribution for the attack on Fabletown. However the only one who can successfully pull it off is THE BIG BAD WOLF. Prince Charming dispatches Mowgli to find him.
It takes a wolf to find a wolf.
Meanwhile Snow White, the mother of Bigby's children, is maintaining the fiction that Daddy is away but still in contact with his children. We all know Mowgli would find Bigby. We all know Bigby would come home and perform this mission. We know Bigby would return to Snow White.
Ah but the journey is the purpose of reading this series and therein lies the joy. Exactly how these events would transpire is the beauty and the brilliance of the story. Prince Charming, his staff and Bigby need to work for the Pentagon. We'd be out of Iraq in a month. There is no way I was able to anticipate how these events would transpire and the sheer elegance of the plan. A magic beanstalk? Cinderella? C4????!!!
That's enough for now. But if Bigby thinks he's retired......
Well, we find out just what can lure Bigby back and what loophole the Mayor has found in the rules. We also learn the details of the plan and just how Fabletown plans to hold off the ravaging hordes of the Adversary. Really quite clever. The plan is handles so quickly that it is almost anticlimactic. Remember, this is a character driven story, not action-driven. Most of the story is about the Fables themselves and how they react to the situations.
As an added bonus, the volume includes the script for a pivotal issue. Now you can see how an issue goes from story to comic. Interesting in an intellectual way but after just reading the same story in comic-format, it lacked a little something. There is also a map of the Fabletown holdings and their relation to surrounding areas. Nice extras but the real treat is the story itself. Check it out.
I loved Fables until issue 50, as contained in this TPB. At that point Willingham just went almost comically conservative. He concludes a drawn out romance between Snow White and Bigby Wolf in the most hurried and unbelievable fashion where they settle down in proper wedlock in a McMansion-looking house (not kidding). Willingham wants us to accept that Bigby Wolf, who has been roaming about completely out of contact with six of his seven illegitimate children and their mother for years and was 'shacking up' with some random woman a mere one issue back, is suddenly ready for a settled, nuclear-family arrangement. Ridiculous.
Most unforgivable of all, characters from continental European, pre-modern, even pre-Christian contexts carry out the most overbearingly trite, Protestant, Anglo-American wedding ceremony imaginable, including an absurdly out-of-character promise by Snow White to "obey" Bigby. For a series that had studiously avoided religion with the exception of the Arabian Fables (with some fairly cliché portrayal of Islam), the wedding was a blatant shot at the notion of civil marriage and thus marriage equality for gays and lesbians (Willingham literally has his character talk about marriage as a sacred institution handed down by god). Heavy-handed is an understatement and worse detached from the actual nature of marriage in the social and cultural context of the characters, historical or modern.
I could tell from early in the series that Willingham was fairly conservative with his hearty use of the death penalty (Animal Farm), torture of captured enemies (Baba Yaga), some hackneyed shots at left-wing ''radicals' (Goldilocks) as he imagines them, and the supposed moral decay of the Mundy's in taking a more nuanced perspective on crime (Snow White's characterisation of modern values as blaming the victim). Still his points were usually subtle enough or at least well-integrated enough to be things I could agree to disagree on. With Fables 50, he just went over the deep-end and frankly spoiled two characters, Snow White and Bigby Wolf, that I had really come to love.
A very sad ending to my interest in this series.