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Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons Paperback – April 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fables, the comic about fairy-tale characters ("Fables") living in exile in Manhattan and upstate New York, started with a jaunty mystery (Legends in Exile, 2003) full of irony, but it has steadily darkened. Some major figures--Bluebeard, for instance--have been killed, and in March of the Wooden Soldiers (2004), the Manhattan enclave was attacked by forces of the Adversary, which drove them from their home world. The title story here depicts the year after the attack. Summer sees the birth of Deputy Mayor Snow White's sextuplets (the father is Sheriff Bigby Wolf); fall, Prince Charming's election as mayor; winter, bad decisions by the new administration; and spring, plans to counterattack the Adversary. Two shorter pieces show Bigby Wolf on a secret mission during World War II and Cinderella entrapping a Fable who is collaborating with the Adversary. Tony Akins draws the shorter stories with less detail than Mark Buckingham does the big one; both uphold Fables' snappy good looks. Ray Olson
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About the Author

Bill Willingham is the critically-acclaimed, award-winning creator of several iconic comic book series, including the bestselling Fables franchise. In 2003, its first year of publication, Fables won the prestigious Eisner award for Best New Series, and has gone on to win fourteen Eisners to date. Bill lives in the wild and frosty woods of Minnesota.

Mark Buckingham has been working in comics professionally for the past twenty two years, building a reputation for design, storytelling and a chameleon like diversity of art styles. Since 2002 Mark has been the regular artist on Fables, working with its writer and creator Bill Willingham, for which they have earned numerous comic industry awards.

Jimmy Palmiotti is an award-winning character creator with a wide range of production, consulting, editorial, film writing, film development, media presentation, and video game development credits. His clients include Nike, Nickelodeon, Universal Pictures, Disney, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, Vidmark, Starz, Fox Atomic, Alliance Films, New Line, Spike TV, MTV, 2K Games, Midway, Radical Games, Activision, and THQ. He is the cofounder of companies such as Event Comics, Black Bull Media, Marvel Knights (a division of Marvel Comics), and PaperFilms, where he partners with Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Frank Tieri, and Justin Gray. His current projects include All-Star Western, Batwing, and Harley Quinn for DC Comics, Daredevil: Dark Nights and What If? AvX for Marvel Comics, Painkiller Jane for Marvel s Icon Comics, and The Deep Sea for Dark Horse Entertainment.

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Product Details

  • Series: Fables (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401204864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401204860
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Fowler on March 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
The fifth collected-edition of "Fables" is a much more subdued affair than "March of the Wooden Soldiers". It contains several smaller stories that advance further many of the overall plot lines lingering about Fabletown.

First, we learn of Cinderella's more devious nature in "Cinderella Libertine". The less said about this story, the better, simply because its impact lies in its ending. No point spoiling it.

Next, we get a couple of "War Stories", as we follow Bigby Wolf into his past as a spy for the Allies during World War II, on a mission that never officially happened, as Bigby leads a squad of American troops to a castle behind enemy lines.

Finally is "The Mean Seasons" proper, as King Cole discovers he was perhaps not as popular as a mayor as he thought, and his successor, Prince Charming, learns actually governing a city requires a lot more than charm. His new administration, including Beauty and the Beast, also find the elaborate system that Snow White and Bigby have in place to keep the city running smoothly.

Meanwhile, Snow White gives birth to Bigby's litter, moves to the Farm (where the "nonhuman" looking Fables must stay) and meets her father-in-law. Others leave Fabletown for various reasons, including Bigby, who is not allowed on the Farm. And some invisible creature is killing various residents of Fabletown.

While "March of the Wooden Soldiers" was and is my favorite storyline, I have to say that I found "Mean Seasons" to have quite the emotional impact. Writer Bill Willingham, after carefully building the status quo of the series for three years, has swept it away, while paying attention to the logical consequences of those changes. The result is a very touching volume in this excellent series.

DC has wisely fast-tracked this series for trade-paperback format. That's a good thing, since it's an excellent series. I anticipate future volumes.
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Format: Paperback
After the horrific events of March of the Wooden Soldiers, it would seem that things couldn't get worse in Fabletown. But the impending mayoral election could overturn the centuries-old status quo, sending the town into a tailspin.

This collection actually starts off with issue 22, even though the previous collection ended at 27. March of the Wooden Soldiers cut 22 out because, while it is an important issue, it interupted the flow of the story. It is a one-shot focusing on Cinderella, Prince Charming's third wife. While many people think she is merely a loud heiress, it is merely a cover. She is really a spy, and she uses her feminine wiles to get what she needs from the people she is assigned to.

The next two issues follow one of Bigby Wolf's missions during World War II. Like most science fiction involving World War II, the Nazis are once again researching the occult and impossible, and they have a surprise in store for the Allied forces. While these issues are good, they don't compare to the amazing March of the Wooden Soldiers story nor the following story.

The four-part arc The Mean Seasons takes place over the course of a year, with each issue occuring in one of the four seasons. Things kick off with Prince Charming winning the mayoral election and the birth of Snow White and Bigby Wolf's children (yes, there are multiple kids). Charming is the first new mayor since the creation of Fabletown, and his presence so annoys Snow White and Bigby that they step down from their positions as Deputy Mayor and Sheriff, respectively.
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Format: Paperback
Bill Willingham, Fables: The Mean Seasons (Vertigo, 2005)

I've been reading Fables and Brian Michael Bendis' Powers simultaneously, and hadn't really been able to come to much of a conclusion about whether I preferred one or the other. The Mean Seasons, however, sealed the deal for me: Fables is the better-written series. I mean, Willingham takes a book where, basically, nothing happens and still makes it into something that demands to be devoured in one sitting.

The Mean Seasons takes the fables through the year following the end of March of the Wooden Soldiers. Its main purpose is to wrap up loose ends from older books (such as the Fabletown election and Snow's pregnancy) and introduce hooks for later books in the series. The only real story arc here is a two-parter in which Bigby and a friend from his wartime days spin some tales of Bigby's prowess in battle. Everything else is transitional. Content-wise, when it comes right down to it, the book's as vapid as Paris Hilton.

And yet, like the rest of the series' titles, it's gripping. Willingham makes the day-to-day life of Fabletown and the farm as exciting as Blue's retelling of the fall of the last outpost in the Homelands that kicked off March of the Wooden Soldiers. That takes some doing.

The series just keeps getting better. Can't wait for book six. ****
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Since the Adversary's first attack in the previous volume, it was obvious that the war had come to Fabletown and that this would be an ongoing theme for the rest of the series. However, aside from the first story, which features a treacherous Fable, the war with the Adversary hardly figures at all into this volume. Instead, we mostly get to see what happens as Prince Charming takes over Fabletown, and Snow White tries to deal with her litter of flying babies. There is also another murder mystery with a sad ending, and a flashback story featuring Bigby Wolf behind enemy lines in World War II. A great collection of stories, but a bit slower-paced than previous volumes.
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