With the release of Fables Vol. 22 (#150), the long-running series has come to an end. Since I started buying the monthly issues with #70, Fables has always been one of my favorite comics. Back before issue #100 came out, I did a countdown, recapping every story up until that point. There were no such fanfare this time, partly because it would have taken more time than I really had, and partly because I didn’t want this series to end. Almost like a 5 stages of grief thing.
First, there’s the news articles that came out. You see the headlines, about the series ending and think, “surely not, there are so many stories left to tell.” Then came the anger. How could Willingham end the series without fully going through the prophecy of the cubs? That’s not right. Then there’s the bargaining. Well, not really. Bargaining is where the metaphor falls apart. But it picks back up with depression. There’s no way that the ending is going to be any good. With so many characters, how can they end the series in any meaningful fashion? Then finally acceptance. Yeah, it’s ending, but everything has to end at some point. And of course there’s no way to end it that will be fully satisfying, but let’s just enjoy the ride.
The main story that had been going on between Rose Red and Snow White did have a satisfying conclusion. I won’t go into details, but it did have the large scale, Earth changing events you’d expect from a war between the two. But also, the conclusion was done in such a way that makes sense, and makes you wonder how this was missed the entire time. Of course, it’s easy to miss these details when in the heat of the moment. I know this ending had never occurred to me.
Aside from the main story, the rest of the recurring characters got short, final stories. And they were nice, little quick hits. The cubs prophecy was fully revealed. Well, as fully as it could be in such a short time. As it was, we had already learned that Winter would become a king by becoming the North Wind, Therese was the one that did an evil thing, and Dare was the one that died to stop her. Blossom became pauper, but did have an entire world that was under her protection. Connor became the hero bold. Ambrose was the one that judged the rest by writing the recorded history of Fabletown. (Fables) And Ghost is the one that lives to ages old and is heaven blessed.
Some other highlights include King Cole starting a new school of magic in the old Fabletown castle. (The Mundy world learned of Fabletown, and people began to develop magical abilities. Pinocchio was considering running for President. Geppetto spent centuries redeveloping his magic groves to make his wooden soldiers so that he could conquer Earth.
So, all in all, about as good of an ending as you can expect. Sure, there were more stories that could be told, but as Willingham put it in the afterword, it would be adding details for their own sake. We as the audience know the story of Fables. We don’t need everything spelled out for us. We as the reader can use our imagination to fill any blanks we have. Like, Willingham in the Afterword mentions some events that happen after this issue, like 16 great crises that befell Ambrose’s Kingdom of Haven, or Pinocchio’s adventures as President. We can each use our imagination to create these stories.
So long Fables. It has been a fun ride, and you will be missed.