When the Fables from Arabian Nights arrive at Fabletown for a diplomatic mission, Mayor Prince Charming and his associates, Beauty and the Beast, find themselves completely unprepared, hampered by both a language and cultural barrier. Charming enlists former Mayor King Cole to help with communicating with the wealthy Sinbad, but Sinbad’s advisor has other plans. Meanwhile, back in the homelands, two wooden soldiers find themselves falling in love, but know they will not be able to fully experience it while trapped in their wooden forms.
As someone who grew up loving stories like Aladdin and Ali Baba, I was quite interested in seeing how Bill WIllingham was going to incorporate the characters from Arabian Nights into his Fables universe. I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed in the results, as he only ends up dipping his toe in the wide variety of stories that he could pull from. I suspect that this was done with space in mind (it is, after all, not the only thing going on in this arc), and it is interesting to see his depiction of Sinbad and a Djinni, but I found myself wanting more in the end. At the same time, it is nice to check in on what’s going on with the Fables at home after so much time away in the Homelands graphic novel. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for the womanizing Prince Charming as he finds himself overwhelmed in his new position. Interestingly, once he does gain that sympathy, he almost immediately dashes it to the ground by reverting to his old ways.
The Arabian Nights Story is followed up by a very interesting two-issue arc called The Ballad of Rodney and June. Like in the Homelands arc, we’re allowed to see the viewpoint of the adversary, but the series enemy has never been humanized to this point as of yet (and isn’t it interesting that the most human characters are the wooden soldiers?). I found myself really pulled into this storyline about two wooden soldiers that fall in love. By the end, I couldn’t help but wonder if we will see these two characters in the comics again, as their story certainly is interesting.
Fables, Vol 7: Arabian Nights (and Days) feels at times like wasted potential, but the story is ultimately satisfying and helps to better develop characters that have been around since issue number one. The Ballad of Rodney and June storyline was particularly interesting, and gave us a very human look at the wooden soldier characters. I have the next volume out from my library and look forward to reading it soon.
Rating: four stars
Length: 144 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
Other books I've read by this author: Previous volumes of the Fables series, including Legends in Exile, Animal Farm, Storybook Love, March of the Wooden Soldiers, The Mean Seasons, and Homelands
Next I will be reviewing The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson and Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner
xposted to temporaryworlds,bookishh, and goodreads