Collects issues 11-18.
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Marc Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Lan Medina, Bryan Talbot, Linda Medley, Craig Hamilton
This collection starts with a stand-alone tale of Jack. He’s the hero of several fairy tales, such as Jack the Giant-killer and he also had the magic beans. Issue 11 is set during the American civil war and Jack fought on the Confederate side. When the war starts to go badly for his side, he leaves. During his travel, he encounters a strange old man and plays cards with him. It turns out that the old man is none other than the devil himself and soon Jack is playing for his soul.
Next up is a two issue story where our stalwart fables unite against one human man in order to keep their existence a secret from humans. Tommy Sharp is a good investigative journalist and he’s dug deep into Fabletown’s history. He makes the mistake of calling on Bigby before exposing Fabletown. Now, Bigby, Jack, Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming, Boy Blue, Flycatcher, and Bluebeard have to protect their secret.
Next up is the Storybook Love storyline. At the end of the previous volume, Snow White was shot and she barely survived. She’s now well enough to move around slowly with a cane. Meanwhile, the villains from the previous volumes have teamed up and have hatched a plan to kill Snow and Bigby but out of town. Since they won’t leave voluntarily, the villains make a spell which forces them to go camping together in a place far away from everyone else. They have just one tent and the consequences of that are seen at the end of the volume.
Goldilocks is after Bigby and Snow with a rifle. After they survive their car crashing down a mountain side, they trek through the woods together and we get to know a bit more about Bigby. Back in Fabletown, Prince Charming has somehow ordered the mouse police, Liliputians riding intelligent, talking rats, to spy on Bluebeard.
The final issue is again a stand-alone. This time, Bigby tells Flycatcher about how the Liliputians came to the Farm and how they got brides.
Overall, this a good collection where characters face consequences from their previous actions and a significant plotline is started. I really enjoyed the way that the fables dealt with the reporter, which was quite funny at first. The final issue is also quite charming.
At his best, Willingham does a great job of balancing humor and horror, and the horror isn’t always violence and splatter. He’s not yet at his best in this collection but pretty good. The characters are starting to grow to their personalities, especially Bigby and Snow. Snow’s actually not a very exciting person; instead she’s a very good byrocrat: methodical and organized but without much humor or imagination. Bigby is very much like Wolverine: experienced warrior and killer who has a compassionate side and is struggling with his enhanced senses all the time.