Fables - I Ain't Gonna Hold You

I first became aware of Fables as I attempted to clear my backlog of video games. The Wolf Among Us, is a video game based on the series, and I had a lot of fun playing it. The world really interested me, and the plugs for the comics at the end of each episode finally wore me down. I just had to check this out, and in the words of a legendary poet, "this one, is a doozy."

I was warned by several people that there was some very heavy handed pro-Israel segments in later chapters, but I never even got there, because the book is entirely too problematic before that. In an early story arc a reporter believes the fables are vampires and intends to reveal their secret, unless they pay him. The solution that is presented is to put him to sleep, and take sexually explicit photos of him with Pinocchio, who is a real boy, for all eternity. From there we endure a three page tirade about how rape allegations ruin people's lives, more than being an actual rapists. I couldn't help but wonder if the entire story arc was written for no other reason but for that payoff. Later we get a story about Cinderella being a spy for Bigby. She's seduced Ichabod Crane, he reveals that he was fired from working in city hall because Snow White accused and fabricated evidence that he sexually harassed her. He claims people only believed her because she was a woman. C'mon son, we saw how you were moving in Paris, she didn't lie.

Speaking of problematic and Snow White. Bluebeard puts Snow White and Bigby Wolf under a spell, causing them to run off to the woods for a few days. During this time, they both have sex, that neither remembers. We're subject to a debate of if it was rape or not, since they were both drugged by an unknown, to them, person. There's never an answer reached because they both kind of wanted it, but that's not the end. We then find out Bigby has been stalking Snow White since they left the homelands, but she thinks it's sexy. Snow White finds out she's pregnant, and this is not in her plans. The doctor suggests abortion as an option. We're treated to a rant about why abortion is an abomination, a barbaric mundy thing and so on.

Now on a personal level, as a Black man, watching Jack as a proud and celebrated Confederate soldier just annoyed me. He's set up to be one of the heroes, or major players. But hey, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood firmly kicks off the game with you as loyal Confederate soldiers, so it isn't the first time. Anyway, Jack meets the very first Black, or even non white fable in the story. Old Nick, is a runaway slave who turns out to be Satan, but he's outsmarted by the white man and loses all his possessions. Again, there was no real point of including this in the narrative. 

Spoiler for a decade old comic, I didn't finish, but I'm willing to bet that The Advissary is Gipetto, of Pinocchio fame. Why? Because the book is incredibly hard with it's foreshadowing. We've got Pinocchio's treasured toy soldiers carved by his father, moving around on their own. We've got wooden soldiers attacking the city and calling Pinocchio their oldest brother. I don't need another 127 issues to figure that out.

The world is charming, when characters aren't launching into ridiculous speeches full of Republican talking points at random. The whole thing is built sloppily on the grounds of segregation; actually, it isn't very charming. The main reason the Fables, human fables anyway, separate themselves from us mundys, or mundane, is because they believe we are violent, hostile and will kill them all. Now, in the 23 issues I dragged myself through, not a single Mundy harmed a fable or even wielded a gun. Meanwhile, Fables have been having a field day on the humans, and their livestock. Most brutally, a gun shop owner was brutally murdered and hung on a brick wall with knives piercing his body. But segregation is really important here. Segregation is The Mundy's fault, but time and time again in the first 23 issues we witness them become the victims of fable actions from minute inconveniences to death.

Some of the characters are likeable. I actually like Bigby, because he's one of the few characters trying to atone for his past, however I'm told he joins the Israel Propaganda Team later. Actually, no, the stalking is terrible and he's kind of arrogant. Snow is way more tolerable in the Wolf Among Us game than she is in the comic. She's arrogant, spends all her time cursing and telling people how stupid they are. Rose Red did sleep with Snow's husband, Prince Charming, but that was centuries ago and she hasn't let it go despite knowing Prince Charming can literally charm anyone or anything. She's incredibly dismissive to

Prince Charming however, much more enjoyable. He's greedy and questing after wealth, but he doesn't hide it, and he brings very good points. Such as, how can King Cole be mayor for multiple centuries? Charming also tends to help people more than he's given credit for. Yeah, he killed Bluebeard for the money, but also he had spies watching that nobody else knew about. The money was the bonus, he was gonna kill Bluebeard anyway for the greater good. Boy Blue is a hopeless romantic that just wants to live a simple life, but keeps getting drawn into situations where he has to play there hero, he's a great guy. Flycatcher, is treated like an idiot, but every question that comes out of his mouth is valid. 

Bigby, why am I being punished for eating flies when stealing magic artifacts is a much larger crime?
If Blue isn't in trouble, why would he leave his horn behind?

Why can't I try to wake Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)? I'm a prince, and I've been in love with her for years.

Honestly, I'm just disappointed with the whole thing. The story lines are predictable. There's plenty of weird subtext going on, most of the characters are just unlikable and it's hard to feel bad for them when something terrible happens. "Oh no, we segregated the farmlands, there's an uprising," you've been in America since The Revolutionary War, meaning you lived through Segregation, and you thought it would work? Beyond the subtext, there's so much over conservatism. 

I'm upset without how bad this series is because it falls right into my cup of tea. This is the kind of story I love, but I just can't put up with all the extras. I'm not shy about inserting my political views into my work, so I can't judge on that end; no writer really can. But there's a wide line between subconsciously slipping in some of your political views and bordering actual propaganda. I'm not saying conservative characters shouldn't be written, or even that they should always be the bad guy. I'm just saying it's so heavy handed and forceful that it ruins what could have been a great story.

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Fables - I Ain't Gonna Hold You Fables - I Ain't Gonna Hold You Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, October 08, 2021 Rating: 5

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