Countdown to Fables #100: Arabian Nights (and Days)

Welcome to today’s edition of Countdown to Fables #100.  Twice a week, I will recap a story from Fables, starting at the beginning with “Legends in Exile,” and going all the way to the “Rose Red” story that hasn’t actually finished yet.  Today’s story is titled “Arabian Nights (and Days).”  This story is about a delegation of Arabian Fables, and the trouble they bring with them to Fabletown.  In the recap to this story, there is not a mention about the identity of the Adversary (even though one does exist in the actual story).  As always, the story recap and spoilers are after the break.

Arabian Nights (and Days)
Issues #42-45
Art by Mark Buckingham

Prince Charming wakes up from sleeping in one of the backrooms in the office, in order to avoid a long line of disgruntled Fabletown citizens.  Beauty reminds him that he still has to see them, because Beast can’t calm the crowd down much longer.  He listens to their various complaints, but is unable to do anything to help.  A group in a limo sits outside of the Woodlawn Building, waiting for a delegation to come greet them.  Flycatcher keeps peering out of the window at the car sitting there, but not wanting to go examine it himself.  After he sees Red Riding Hood take food down to Boy Blue in his cell, Fly decides he can be brave enough to check out the car.  He goes out there to find that the car is full of Arabian Fables, led by Sinbad.  His chief adviser, Yusuf,  is unhappy with the way they are being treated.  Red Riding Hood tells Boy Blue that no one likes her, and he tells her to just give it some time.  Prince Charming is informed of the visitors, and he’s upset with himself because this is something Mowgli had set up and told him about, but he botched.  There is much confusion because no one speaks the other language.  Eventually, Beauty is able to coax them into VIP rooms.  She finds that King Cole is fluent in Arabic, and he is sent to negotiate with the Arabians.  Later that night, Prince Charming and Beauty are working late in the office.  He begins rubbing her shoulders, and then they kiss.

Beauty pulls away.  She admits it was a great kiss, but it’s something they can’t continue.  She greatly loves her husband, would like to forget about this, and chalk it up to stress and Prince Charming’s charming ability.  Bufkin was sleeping, and looks up at the end of the conversation.  King Cole, in good spirits, meets again with the Arabian delegation.  King Cole tells Sinbad that while he respects their culture of having slaves, it is their culture to hang slavers.  Sinbad agrees to the point, but Yusuf is outraged.  Sinbad sends him away.  Beauty brings Beast a breakfast of muffins, apologizing for always bickering at him.  Later, Beast meets with Frau Totenkinder, who informs him that the Arabians brought a D’Jinn (genii) with them.  She tells them that they are 97% magic, compared with the average elder god (Norse) being 50%, and they have the power to destroy planets.  A great sorcerer-scientist was the one that was able to bind them in bottles.  And they could be contained in the bottles after being released if the person used their third wish to put them back in the bottle.  Sinbad spends time learning English, but Yusef believes that his mind is being taken over by the Westerners.  Up at the Farm, Snow White, Rose Red, Frau Totenkinder, and Mr. North discuss the D’Jinn.  Rose asks Snow didn’t she spend time with the Arabians, but Snow says she will never speak to them.*  Mr. North says that he’s distantly related to the D’Jinn, and could fight them, but it would destroy most of the world.  Rose asks him why he didn’t help against the Adversary before, but replies that empires are of no concern to him because they come and go.  He’s helping them now because they are family.  Sinbad tells Yusef that he wants to release his slaves.  This angers Yusuf, and convinces him that he is just in releasing the D’Jinn.  He wishes for the D’Jinn to kill all the leaders higher than him in Baghdad, kill the Fables he puts on a list, and then to make him wealthy and powerful.

Boy Blue pulls all of the intelligence he gathered from the Homelands out of the Witching Cloak, and gives it to Prince Charming.  He asks Prince if this much info can get him a reduced sentence, but Prince tells him that he has to keep this secret.  Since Boy Blue stole magically items, there was a tribunal, and he’s been sentenced to a year confined, or two years on hard labor on The Farm.  Prince Charming complains about the responsibility of being mayor, but Boy Blue calls him out on not thinking about his actions before he does them.  Boy Blue chooses the Farm.  On his way out, he asks Fly to look after Red Riding Hood, and be a good friend to her.  The D’Jinn flies to Baghdad, and kills all of the people allied to Yusuf.  Frau Totenkinder tells Beast that the D’Jinn has been released.  Without Prince Charming’s input, they decide to arrest the Arabians.  With the help of Kay, they determine that Yusuf was acting alone.  Frau and King Cole confront Yusuf, and inform him that she put a spell on him, and that what he thought he told the D’Jinn to do is not what he actually told him.  She tells him that the D’Jinn actually was told to kill all of Yusuf’s allies, then come kill Yusuf, and get back in the bottle.  The D’Jinn returns and snatches Yusuf.

Frau Totenkinder has been waiting several days for the D’Jinn to finally kill Yusuf.  King Cole asks why she didn’t make it a quicker death, or why he can’t just kill Yusuf out of mercy.  She tells him that she could only change his words into something else he would wish upon his enemies, and changing the circumstances may undo the wishes.  Rose Red gives Boy Blue his list of duties on the Farm, while Snow’s cubs follow them around and ask him questions about his adventures.  Prince Charming and King Cole find out that Sinbad brought the D’Jinn with him because he was responsible for guarding it, but was negligent in his duties.  The banish him from Fabletown, only to be allowed to return if he was a dignitary from a Fabletown East.  They offer to help him form a Fabletown in Baghdad.  Before he leaves, he frees his slaves, and informs them they may stay in Fabletown or return home.  King Cole travels with Sinbad as an ambassador, and to assist in the establishment of a new Fabletown.  King Cole discovers that the Arabians are not actually refugees, but are actually still in their Homelands.  Beast asks Bufkin a question, but Bufkin freaks out and flies off.  Flycatcher takes Red Riding Hood out for candy, but after having a run-in with some of Sinbad’s former slave girls, Fly and Red Riding have a misunderstanding, and she runs off crying.

Here, we meet the Arabian Fables.  We also see that Prince Charming didn’t really think about what he was doing when he decided he wanted to become mayor.  However, Beast is getting the hang of being sheriff, and is learning how things work.  While that was the main focus of the book, there are two other major storylines that get their start in this story.  Boy Blue being at The Farm is story that is still impacting Fables up to the current issue #97.  Flycatcher being told to be a friend to Red Riding Hood is another story that greatly develops over time.

Up Next, The Ballad of Rodney and June

*The time that Snow White spent with the Arabian Fables that Rose Red referenced is a story that was released in the graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall.  This story is a variation on the 1001 Arabian Nights.  Here, Snow has to come up with a story each night to entertain her captor, so that he does not take her as a wife and kill her.  The stories end up being origin stories for many of the Fables.  I recommend reading this book, even though I won’t likely be recapping it here, unless Fables #100 gets delayed.

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