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Bill Willingham – Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands

October 30, 2008

135. Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, David Hahn, Steve Leialoha (2005)
Fables, Volume 6

Read my Review of:
Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Vol. 2: Animal Farm
Vol. 3: Storybook Love
Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons

Length: 190 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Started: 29 October 2008, on my lunch break
Finished: 29 October 2008, about an hour after I got home.

Boy Blue goes back to
the Homelands to find his girl
and kill the bad guy.

Summary: After a two-part story in which we learn what Jack did when he left Fabletown after the election – moved to Hollywood and became a movie producer, apparently – the rest of this volume gets down to the business of telling the story of Little Boy Blue. Blue absconded from Fabletown at the same time as Jack, taking with him the witching cloak and vorpal sword (of Jaberwocky fame). He’s headed back into the Homelands, which have been controlled by the Adversary for over a thousand years, and while he’s there, he means to find his lost love Little Red Riding Hood – the real one, this time – and kill the Adversary. Back on the homefront, Mowgli’s back from travelling the world and has a new assignment, while the other Fables attempt to root out one of the Adversary’s spies in their midst.

Review: After the more personal, emotional story of Volume 5, Volume 6 gets back on track, chugging the plot relentlessly forward. At the same time as we get forward plot momentum, though, we also get quite a bit of backstory filled in, with the revelation not only of the Adversary’s identity (although I totally guessed right in Vol. 4), but also of how they became the Adversary and how things got to be the way they are. What I loved most about this volume in particular is how well Willingham is able to create many-dimensioned characters out of fairy tale staples, while still having it feel organic to their origins. That’s been true throughout the series, but in Homelands I repeatedly found myself nodding my head and thinking “Yeah, that’s right. If character Z *were* real, he’d totally be X and do Y.” That’s impressive storywriting, especially considering the disparate sources from which Willingham draws, yet he still blends it all together into a cohesive whole.

One thing that did bother me a little is that there’s no reference to how much time is passing in the main story arc, whereas in the Jack story at the beginning, they’re explicit about five years passing since Election Day, so it’s unclear how the two fit together. Presumably we’ll figure it out when the series gets back around to Snow White and the kids. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: While I missed the familiar main characters of Bigby and Snow, Homelands was still an excellent installment, and a chance to take the story and art into more fantastic arenas than we’ve seen before. Very enjoyable.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Things Mean a Lot
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2008 3:04 pm

    “What I loved most about this volume in particular is how well Willingham is able to create many-dimensioned characters out of fairy tale staples, while still having it feel organic to their origins.”

    Agreed! And very well said!

  2. October 30, 2008 3:10 pm

    Nymeth – I think it was the Adversary in particular. If you’d said to me before I started: “Who, out of all of the characters in all of fairy-tale-dom is most likely to turn out to be the Ultimate Big Bad?”, I would have had no idea, but after finishing this volume, I was left going “Oh, yes, that totally makes sense.”

  3. October 30, 2008 7:27 pm

    I plan on getting some of these for my birthday/ Christmas presents lol.

  4. October 31, 2008 11:23 pm

    Ladytink – I hope whoever’s shopping for your birthday/Christmas presents gets you the whole set, and that you enjoy them as much as I’ve been doing!

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