Fables Vol. 21 and 22
A graphic novel legacy has ended for me. The very first comic series that I have ever read has laid to rest all of its characters, leaving me slightly empty.
The rest of me knows this series has come to an end, because, let's face it, when a group of creators have squeezed every last bit out of its stories, it's time to go.
"Nothing gold can stay."
And sadly, this gold was starting to tarnish. I would've kept reading the series, and like anything, it probably would've had a rebirth at some point, ushering in a second-wind of creativity, storytelling, and all the feelings.
But, after so many years, it was obvious that wasn't going to happen for a little while.
We find the titular characters, the ever-famous Snow White and, the oft forgotten, Rose Red, about to duke it out because of a literary accident.
"Whoops, we're going to finally show you why they're about to fight. Sorry, readers!"
It seems the writers wanted to throw a curve ball our way, but instead, they left us with a, "You're telling us this now why?"
It seems, through Snow White and Rose Red's lineage, there is a curse that only one sister shall remain. All others will kill or be killed. Rose Red, trying on the idea of Camelot for size, was going to be the good knight. All decked out in armor, mind you, Snow White, who has no ideas where the armor came from (and, alas, neither do we), decides that she'll go ahead and fill the role of the other knight.
So, you two are going to fight?
Not pulling-hair fight, but with swords?
Or that's what, we readers, are supposed to think. Lines are drawn in the sands. People are choosing sides. All the fairy tale characters go to their bookies and place their bets.
Since, I already paid for this ride 22 volumes ago, I sat down, cranked the leg bar as close as it could get to my thighs, and rode this kiddie roller coaster until it came to a complete stop.
Luckily, by the the time I flipped through the pages of the final volume, Rose Red decides that she has the power to end this generations-long curse, doesn't fight Snow White, and banishes herself.
And everyone lives happily ever after.
Regardless of the lukewarm attempt to wrap up the almost unwrap-up-able, there were no major deaths (those all happen within the meat of the series...where they belong), there were no major heartbreaks, and the reader was left with a bittersweet end.
All the characters, pretty much, end up going their separate ways.
It's all very "Friends."
Let's hope the writers don't try to create a "Joey" situation with Cinderella.
Although the series lost a little of its magic toward the end, this series is, overall, a magnificent re-envisioning of the fairy tale world and all the back stories that go with it. Good guys have sketchy side jobs (Cinderella is a spy?) and the most prosaic side character is the ultimate villain (I'm not giving that one away).
This was the most satisfying graphic novel series I could've stepped foot in, having never read "comics" before. It made me a believer. I have, since, started reading more.
Some day, much like "Harry Potter," I hope to return to these pages to lose myself in a familiar land.
Until then, this new believer in graphic novels is off to a new series.