Countdown to Fables #100: Homelands

Welcome to another edition of the Countdown to Fables #100, recapping every story that has appeared in Fables in anticipation of the release of issue #100 on November 24th.  Today’s story is title “Homelands,” and is a very special story.  This story is about Boy Blue’s return to the Homelands in search of vengeance and love.  But also, we finally learn the identity of the Adversary.  So, if you don’t want to know the identity of the Adversary just yet, then do not read the recap.  There are spoilers, and I do name the Adversary.

Homelands
Issues #36-38, 40-41
Art by Mark Buckingham

Two goblins from the 4th Horde Empire’s Army are going around collecting taxes from citizens of their occupied lands.  They discuss things like how one of them has a human mistress that can’t cook, how easy the 12th Horde has it because they are are allowed to bring their families with them, but how unwise it would be to try to ask for a transfer because you would likely end up dead.  At their personal camp that night, they hear a horn, and one tells a tale of the Black Knight, but the other tells him that the Black Knight is just a creation of a corporal that likes to tell lies.  Then, the Black Knight shows up.  It’s a masked Boy Blue with the Witching Cloak and the Vorpal sword.  Blue tries to get information regarding the army in the area, but the goblins are unwilling to comply, so he chops their heads off with a couple swings.  Eventually, Blue is able to get the information out of a soldier, and finds Governor General Chernomor.  Blue uses the cloak to take the appearance of Chernomor, and kills the actual Chernomor.  Blue spends a couple weeks in Chernomor’s library, studying maps of the Homelands, and gates leading to each.  Still appearing as Chernomor, he exits that land into a barren, desolate land.  Blue transforms into a bird and flies until he comes across a cave.  Traveling through the cave, Blue comes across a dragon.

Blue uses the Witching cloak to shield himself from the dragon’s fire.  Blue is able to wrap the cloak around the dragon’s mouth.  As the dragon tries to blow fire through the cloak, it builds up within him, causing him to explode.  The gate to the next land was within the dragon.  Next in his adventures, Blue comes across Bright Day, the white rider of dawn.  With the aid of the cloak as as impenetrable armor, and the ability of the Vorpal sword to cut anything, Blue is able to behead Bright Day.  However, this doesn’t kill him.  Bright Day tells Blue that Baba Yaga isn’t dead, because the riders are tied to her, and they’d be dead if she was.  Blue also deals with Radiant Sun, the rider of midday, and Dark Night, the rider under the stars.  Blue uses some local mice and birds to ensure that he is on the right path, telling the birds that he is on a quest to restore true love and reap a healthy measure of vengeance.   A local minister sees a pattern in the reports of Blue’s exploits, and suspects an assassin is going to try to kill the Emperor.  He takes it to his superior, who then takes it to the Snow Queen.

A military rider that looks like Boy Blue, named Lieutenant Bloom, reports to a new squad in the capital.  This squad is responsible for protecting the Emperor when he goes from his residence to the Hall of Justice to listen to citizens’ complaints on Petition Day.  The Snow Queen wakes up, and had a premonition that today would be the day that the assassin tries to kill the Emperor.  Inside the Hall of Justice, the Emperor listens to a complaint of someone, who’s paid greatly for this opportunity, that is having a dispute over the management of land given to him and his brother.  The Emperor decides to seize the land so that the brothers have nothing to argue over.   The Snow senses that something is wrong, and demands to know if anyone in the Hall is new.  The captain calls out Bloom, who is wearing a cloak, accuses him of being the assassin, and kills him.  Blue reveals that he was disguised as one of the servants and is able to cut off the Emperor’s head.  The Snow Queen orders everyone out of the Hall, but no one that witnessed this is allowed to leave the grounds.  As Blue turns into a bird to make his escape, the Snow Queen is able to freeze him in a block of ice.

Blue wakes up in a large bird cage with the face of the Emperor staring at him.  He is greeted by an old craftsman, who says it took his best sorcerer’s a week to get him back into human form, and get the cloak off of him.  The old man reveals himself to be Geppetto, Pinocchio’s father.  Geppetto reveals that most of the thrones within the kingdom are puppets under his control.  Blue has two final requests:  to know why Geppetto did what he did, and to speak with the real Red Riding Hood.  Blue also informs Geppetto that he can make the cloak self-destruct, destroying the area, and the body of Pinochio that is hidden within.  Geppetto says that it started as a local matter, to replace a king that was making bad decisions because of a mental illness.  Geppetto is able to bring his puppets alive by using the power of the Blue Fairy.  Geppetto soon grew impatient with the schedule of the Blue Fairy, so he imprisoned her, and began stealing her power.  This allowed him to create his puppets on his schedule.  After the story is finished, Blue allows for Pinocchio’s body to be removed.  Geppetto is able to bring him back to life.

Geppetto continues his story that after so long of replacing kings, it only made sense for him to keep conquering new lands.  Currently, they had control of all of the European fablelands, and were working on the Arabian lands.  Pinocchio struggles greatly with the fact that his father is the Adversary.  Some of the Emperor’s servants bring Red Riding Hood to Boy Blue.  However, she doesn’t recognize him.  Geppetto reveals that it was another spy of his that had made themselves appear to be her that Blue had encountered.  Boy Blue calls the Witching Cloak to him.  He teleports himself out of the cage and tries to kill Geppetto with the Vorpal sword.  However, Geppetto is magically protected, and cannot be killed.  Blue tries to get Pinocchio to leave with him, but he chooses to stay.  Blue grabs Red Riding Hood, and teleports out of the Homelands.  When he gets back to Fabletown, Blue meets with Prince Charming.  Prince Charming thanks Blue for going on the mission, and apologizes to Blue for having to send him on the mission.

So, we finally know that Geppetto is the Adversary.  And we also have more of Boy Blue being a badass.  With the revelation that the was a mission that Prince Charming sent Blue on, we have really begun the third set of stories, that will culminate with issue #75.

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