GN 25. Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham. Illustrated by Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha. 190 p. Published May 2004.
Storybook Love is composed of four tales which, while separate, weave together to provide a glimpse of Fabletown. First comes Jack, the lovable rogue of beanstalk, candle, and every other get-rich-quick scheme. Looking to gain some prestige, Jack joins the South in the American Civil War, and flees when the war turns sour. After winning a magical bottomless sack from the Devil, Jack finds a rich lady abandoned to die in her house. Attracted by her wealth and beauty, Jack vows to trap Death himself in order to save her, as always neglecting the consequences.
The second story, now back in the present, reveals a threat to Fabletown as an overzealous reporter threatens to expose the Fables, mistaking them for a nest of Vampires. Using a complicated plot involving Sleeping Beauty, who’s spell of sleep spreads like a contagion the longer she rests, Bigby Wolf calls upon Prince Charming, Jack, and Bluebeard to scare the reporter into submission. But when Sleeping Beauty won’t wake to Prince Charming’s kiss, an unexpected savior must rise in the form of Flycatcher, the Frog Prince.
The third tale heralds the return of Snow White after her ordeal on The Farm. But Bluebeard and Goldilocks, seeking to seize power of Fabletown, have a different plan. They bewitch Bigby and Snow, forcing the pair to take a vacation out in the wilderness where they’ll be vulnerable. Goldilocks, armed with her proven marksmanship, follows them with murder on the mind. But things are never so simple, and as Bigby and Snow waken from the enchantment, the tables begin to turn in their favor. Meanwhile, Bluebeard looks to seize control of Fabletown, but is foiled by Prince Charming, who proved his ability adjudicating the tribunal after the Farm’s revolt.
Returning to time of the Fables’ exile, The Lilliputians are the focus of the final tale. Looking to join the war against The Adversary, a ship full of these tiny warriors set sail. However, arriving in the old country, they soon realize what a disadvantage their size is in battle. Unable to return home, the Lilliputians join the other Fables in exile with one additional problem – no female Lilliputians. With only Thumbellina for all of them to pine over, one of the Lilliputians sets himself a quest: to return to the old country and retrieve the magic seeds that birthed her kind.
In this third volume of Fables, we learn what love means to the Fables. To the Liliputians it has become a challenge of both their vigor and loyalty to the cause. For some like Jack, it is a foolish and fickle thing of greed and lust. For others, such as the Frog Prince, it is pure, honest, and unrequited. And for Snow and Bigby, Love is a thing that cannot be denied, no matter how much they try.
Storybook Love is the volume I’ve been waiting for. With most of the character generation and world building finished, and a solid plot history to stand upon, this volume really shines. Plot twists, humor, and subterfuge abound, providing a truly marvelous experience. While closing the stories of some characters, this volume offers plenty of intrigue to promise an exciting fifth volume.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Other Reviews of Storybook Love: Fyrefly’s Book Blog