Friday, November 08, 2019

Fairy Tale Friday | Fables, Part 7: The Last Castle

Fables: The Last Castle was a one-shot special in 2003 that offered more insight to the Fables' homelands; specifically the closing days of the Adversary's invasion, the final stand of the defenders, and the last group of refugees to escape. The series had been slowly teasing out information about the mysterious Adversary and his campaign against the homelands, so the revelations of The Last Castle were a big deal and an appropriate subject for a fancy, stand-alone story like this.

It also answered a question that was on the minds of a lot of fans: With Bigby Wolf such an important part of the Fables series, whatever happened to his legendary prey, Red Riding Hood?

The framing of the backstory takes place because Little Boy Blue is depressed, as he always gets this time of year. Snow White finally asks him about it and he tells her that it's the anniversary of the escape of the final survivors from the homelands. Every year, those survivors gather for a private ceremony and Blue has special reason to mourn the experience.

He shares his story with Snow White and the bulk of the book describes an epic battle full of legendary characters like Robin Hood and his men, the Grimm Brothers' Bearskin, and of course Red Riding Hood, who barely makes it into the defenders' keep alive. All of it is beautifully drawn by P Craig Russell, himself a legend of fantasy comics for his Elric and Jungle Book adaptations, Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, and various volumes of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

It's a dark, emotional story and I would have liked it more if it didn't handle Red in a way I don't care for. That's super subjective though and Fables is such an unpredictable series that there's always room for it to come back to her in a way that I like better.

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