The penultimate issue of the Fables sequel is here. Heroes are kidnapped, villains’ plans are beginning to start, and the end of the world is ever closer! Sounds like a good setup, but is it good?
Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #4 (Vertigo Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
The situation on Alcatraz reaches a boiling point as Peter rushes to help Connor escape Paco’s brutal revenge. With their location now compromised and the Shadow Players set to enjoy the upper hand, Tanner and her crew go rogue and throw a fatal wrench in Winona’s plan. There’s no such thing as a smooth resurrection, but nobody saw this mess coming.
Why does this book matter?
Imagine a world where fables are real and we learned they existed. Then the threat of zombies and things even worse started sprouting up. This series is all about a secret MI6 type operation focused on stopping threats average humans can’t take on staffed by fables.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Is it just me or does that “c” in Alcatraz look like a “g”?
This issue has a solid opening and closing that, when combined, help set up what could be a very high stakes finale. Last issue revealed entire worlds have ended due to threats we could not take on and it’s possible such a threat is released here. With this threat looming, Peter Piper must save Connor who got himself in a real pickle on Alcatraz, but the plan tied to that very place begins!
Matthew Sturges and David Justus write a rather well paced issue, pushing the plot forward while filling us in on Connor’s character. Peter gets the brunt of the espionage stuff and he goes full hero here. Meanwhile, the bad guys are nicely layered with personality. The writing team gives them a bit of a boneheaded funny moment for anyone who is keyed into social media and there’s a twist in there too.
Artist Travis Moore brings the detailed illustrations to life as always. It’s his pencils that infuse the scenes with a heavy dose of reality, so that when the fantastical does rear its head it’s a sight to see. He outdoes himself with a full page spread later in the issue that’s highly detailed with many different characters flowing up into the sky in a poetic sort of way. The beasts that are rushing out to be confronted next issue are depicted in a way that is believable and epic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue does suffer from what many penultimate issues fall victim to: holding things back so as to deliver in the finale. The issue doesn’t progress things forward as much as one might like, especially when there are scenes that seem like filler. Connor for instance, has a two page getaway scene that could have easily been wrapped up in half a page. The length slows things down, making the overall flow of this issue somewhat boring. Later, there’s a full page spread of Connor that doesn’t do much more than show how he is saved and doesn’t seem like a shot worthy of a full page splash.
Don’t get too pompous kid.
Is It Good?
This issue is good for a laugh, a heavy dose of action, and a setup of a finale where the stakes can’t get any higher. Hoewever, it does all of this in an issue that drags a bit waiting to lay down its heavier blows next issue. Bring on the finale!