Friday, July 29, 2011
The Dark Man is an elemental being, a focus of all the Fear, Hate and negative energy in the universe has invaded our world looking to destroy the Fables. He has already leveled Fabletown, their hidden village within New York City, and he’s now erecting a tower in its place – a castle disguised as a hotel, from where he will amass his power and feed on the dark emotions of the world’s people. The Fables meanwhile have escaped to the Farm, a place where the non-human Fables have lived away from the prying eyes of humans. But the place is now overwhelmed with the refugees, and things are deteriorating fast as different factions begin to vie for power. The only one who might be able to defuse the situation is Rose Red, who back in volume 1 had been sent to the Farm for penance and had earned the respect of many Fables as the Farm’s leader. But Rose has been slowly allowing herself to fall apart ever since the death of Boy Blue, whom she loved but never realized until it was too late. She is visited by an apparition, who may be her mother, and at long last we are shown her tale – from her abandonment to her quest for revenge against her sister Snow White. Will she finally be able to overcome her past and help stave off the disaster that threatens to overwhelm the Farm? Meanwhile, Totenkinder the witch has become a young woman again, and she is seeking answers in the homelands for how to defeat the Dark Man. But will all her research be enough to finally give her what she needs to defeat this new adversary? After a fantastic run, the last couple of volumes of Fables had not been doing much for me, so I knew that Rose Red might be make-it-or-break-it time for this series. The good news is, it came through with flying colors. Whereas I found the last couple of volumes to be mostly forgettable, here was a very focused story. There are some wonderful things about the Fables series in general, the way it focuses in on characters who had been secondary in a prior volume and makes them the focus of the next, often along the way giving them a chance to overcome their current circumstances and become a hero. Rose Red continues that theme and it’s a welcome return and reminds me of many of the best previous arcs in the series. Likewise though, Fables knows how to surprise the readers. Even as one character gets some redemption, others show surprising twists to their character – changing your perception of previous events and opening up many new possibilities for the future. Beyond that, this particular volume ended much differently than I thought it would – a surprising twist that really throws a wrench in things and provides a nice twist while at the same time being very complimentary to where this series began. I’m a believer again in Fables, and will be sticking around to check out the next volume as soon as it’s available – something I wasn’t so sure of prior to reading Rose Red. This is one of the best arcs in the story, ranking up there with my favorites, and if you’ve stuck around this long it’s well worth reading.
Posted by Jim Haley at 7/29/2011