With readers generally being not as interested in new villain Mister Dark as they were the Adversary, it’s not much of a surprise that it looks to be that Dark’s time as the main “Fables” villain is about to wrap up, after only one-third the time the Adversary stuck around. Still, the recent ramp-up has been interesting, in part because the series has focused much more on the Farm, rather than Dark’s take-over of the ruined Fabletown.
This month, though, we shift location to Fabletown, and get to see firsthand what Dark has been up to, as well as the North Wind issuing an official warning of the upcoming duel between Dark and Frau Totenkinder. It’s a pleasant change of pace, reminding us that Dark is a distinctly powerful being in its own right, as well as offering up a spotlight of sorts on the North Wind, a character that has been in the background for most of the series. It’s good to see their points of view here, and with the reminder last month that the North Wind is in many ways the same class of being as Mister Dark, the final pages carry an extra sort of punch.
The big draw this issue, though? Inaki Miranda’s art, which is gorgeous. From the opening drawings of New York City, to the army of witherlings growing where Fabletown once was, Miranda packs a punch to all of his pages. It’s dark and creepy, while at the same time still falling into the general, clean look that Mark Buckingham has established as the regular style for “Fables.” He’s not always drawing the creepy either; the scenes set at the North Wind’s palace, especially with Bigby’s and Snow’s children, have an open, almost joyous look to them.
Reading this issue of “Fables” makes me wish we’d seen a little more of Fabletown over the past year or so, instead of spending so much time at the Farm. Next month’s “Fables” #100 will no doubt spotlight the changes to Fabletown that much more, but it would have been nice to see a bit more of the rise of the witherlings and Dark in general. Still, while I suspect a lot of readers are going to applaud the resolution to Dark’s time in “Fables” simply because it ends, we’re set up right now for a fairly satisfying conclusion.