Welcome to my twice weekly recap of every story told within the pages of Bill Willingham’s Fables, counting down to the release of issue #100 on November 24th. Today’s story is the title of volume 5 trade paperback, “The Mean Seasons.” This story arc is a 4 issue run that takes place over the course of a year, one issue per season. This story is about the birth of Snow and Bigby’s child, and the fallout from the Mayoral election. The story recap and spoilers are after the break.
Art by Mark Buckingham
Summer. In his rush to get back to the hospital after voting, Bigby Wolf hand the taxi driver a $100 bill instead of a $20 bill. After 42 hours of labor, Snow White finally has her child, and is happy until the doctor tells her that there are more coming. Snow is not pleased with the thought of having a litter. After 44 hours of labor, Snow has 6 kids. After holding elections in Fabletown and on The Farm, Prince Charming wins in a landslide. King Cole is distraught, trying to figure out where he went wrong. Jack expresses displeasure with Prince’s winning. Back in the hospital, Bigby is admiring the kids, but Snow points out that only one looks entirely human, so they will have to be raised at The Farm, where Bigby isn’t allowed. At his victory Ball, Prince Charming talks to Frau Totenkinder about getting a volume discount for glamors, and asks when can they get started. She tells him never, because they set prices so high to keep demand down, since they are working at full capacity already. She says he should have consulted them first. Prince Charming walks off, phased by the news that he can’t keep his main campaign promise. Afterward, Frau returns to Baba Yaga, trying to get the identity of the Adversary out of her. Kevin Thorn writes down that he’s suspicious of the residents of Bullfinch St. A group of Fables are at the hospital, admiring Bigby and Snow’s kids, when they see them start to float up.
Fall. Bigby, Cinderella, and Beast are interrogating one of the heads of the wooden soldiers. He tells them that Father had all of the gates to the mundy world closed, because he was afraid of mundy weapons being brought in, and arming peasants. In the office, Snow advises Beauty on the duties of her job, and advises her to keep Boy Blue and Bufkin around, because they know everything about the office. Cole leaves his residence a few days early so Prince Charming can be moved in and have changes made by the inauguration. Doctor Swineheart is telling Boy Blue that his hands are perfect again, but they are interrupted by King Cole, who is staying with Blue until Beauty and Beast move out of their old place. Boy Blue goes down to the office to practice his trumpet so Cole can get some sleep. After their interrogation is done, Bigby informs Beast that there will be secrets, like why Cinderella was with them, that he will need to keep from everyone, including his wife. The first secret Bigby shares with Beast is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Bigby and the goose came up with a story to tell people to convince them that the goose is dead, so no one asks about it. Bigby uses the golden eggs to fund his clandestine activities. Bigby tells Snow that he’s leaving Fabletown and never coming back. For his dedication and service, his kids are getting sent to the one place that he can’t go. He asks Snow to bring the kids and run away with him, but she says she can’t because there’s still work that needs to be done. Bigby tells her, ‘for all your griping about how ill-used you were, you cling to your fantasies of castles and princes; where dogs know their place–in the kennels.’ Snow takes the kids up to The Farm, where they nearly fly off when they arrive, only to be caught by the birds. Bigby rides away in a taxi. As they move into their new office, Prince informs them that he’ll have a desk in there as well, because he wants a more hands-on approach. Snow informs Rose Red what happened with Bigby and Rose says that it’s good, because it shows that he should care. And maybe she should give a mutt a chance. Hobbes informs Prince Charming that he’s learned that Boy Blue has stolen the Witching Cloak, the Vorpal sword, and Pinocchio’s body, likely heading back to the Homelands to find the real Red Riding Hood. Snow has a dream in which the head of Colin the pig tells her that things will not get better yet.
Winter. Mistral, the Mister North’s servant, tells his master that he has found his son in the scrying pool. Beast tells a group of protesters protesting about the lack of promised spells to disperse because they are in violation of Fabletown laws. They important thing Beast takes away from this is the joy that someone called him sheriff. Frau Totenkinder tells Beast that she’ll be able to change his enchantment, and allow him to change forms whenever he wants to. Beast asks her if she can also grow a pair of eyeballs. Beauty is complaining about how difficult her job is, and tells Bufkin to leave after he annoyingly answers a rhetorical question. Beast tells Prince Charming that he doesn’t know anything new about Boy Blue, but suspects he is trying to get Gepetto’s help in rebuilding Pinocchio and finding Red Riding Hood. Beast also informs Prince Charming that the contents of one of Bluebeard’s treasure rooms, $2.4 billion worth, has gone missing. An old man named Mr. Web died of suffocation from an unknown source. Rose Red lets some residents at The Farm gripe about the Prince’s broken promises about the transformations. Some of the birds are trying to teach Snow’s kids dirty words. Snow informs Rose of a card Frau Totenkinder sent her, wondering why Frau said she had 7 kids when she actually had 6. Beast tells Flycatcher that Dr. Swineheart can’t figure out what killed Mr. Web. However, Beast had some good news for Fly. Beast tells him that he thought it was awful that Bigby kept arresting him and sentencing him to hours of community service for minor things. Beast promised to not charge him for those crimes, and promises that he doesn’t have to sleep in the boiler room anymore. Fly leaves the office upset because he now doesn’t know what he’ll do with his life from now on. Mister North arrives at The Farm, announces that he’s Bigby’s father, and would like to see his grandchildren.
Spring. The kids have grown up quite a bit, and are able to control their flying. Mister North tells Snow that she shouldn’t let them fly around like that. They should be learning how to shapeshift, and already know how to talk. They come upon the fifth mysterious murder, this time it was Mary’s little lamb. Mister North can tell that the killer is a wild zephyr, a gust of wind that can’t take shape like his attendants. They like to breathe the air from a person’s lungs. He also says they’re extremely rare and are usually killed at birth, but some slip through. Prince Charming is convinced that this was sent by the Adversary, so he heads back to Fabletown to convene a war council. Beast stays at The Farm to track the zephyr with the help of Mister North. Beauty is upset that the office lobby is getting dirty, and Grimble informs her that the janitor was let go 3 months ago. Snow asks Mister North to begin training her kids, and also protect them from the zephyr. Rose asks Beast why he fired Flycatcher. Beast explains that he didn’t fire him, but actually set him free. Rose informs him that Bigby kept arresting Fly so that he wouldn’t have to feel guilty about not trying to return to the Homelands to find his wife and kids. Beast says that he’ll get Fly and return him to the office. Prince Charming called Beauty and told her to call in Bigby’s tourists/spies, in order to prepare for war. The zephyr contacts Snow, revealing itself to be her 7th child. She apologizes for leaving it behind, but tells it that it must go find it’s father, explain what happened, and live with him. The zephyr apologizes for being bad, and then leaves. The children celebrate their first birthday.
I hadn’t realized how much was in these 4 issues until I went to write it all out. Snow gave birth to 6(7) children, and has to move to The Farm because the children don’t look human. Bigby exiles himself, upset that he can’t see his children. Boy Blue has stolen magical artifacts, and appears to be going back to the Homelands. Prince Charming’s administration has taken over. We learned why Flycatcher lives the life that he does. Bigby’s father, Mister North, enters the scene, informing us of some of the powers that Snow’s children will be able to possess. And flying way under the radar is that Jack has left Fabletown. Each one of these story points is explored further in future stories.
Up next, Jack Be Nimble