October 7, 2008

Fables of the Reconstruction

(Note: Slight spoilers abound).

As I'm typing this, I've just finished watching the second Obama/McCain debate. Seeing it as more stale than stalemate (but enjoying the commentary from my fellow denizens on Twitter), I turned towards paging through issues 75 and 76 of Fables.

Reading it, I realized part of why I enjoyed the book so much - much of it reads like really sharp, intelligent political satire.

For those not in the know - Fables centers around the classic characters of folklore, having been exiled in a long-standing war with "The Emperor" and "The Enemy", find themselves interacting with regular folk (or "mundies"...but why not read issue 1 for free, then check the trades out at your local library - several comics bloggers will thank you for it). Of course, these aren't your usual suspects - the "big bad wolf" (not Rose Tyler) is a private eye, Snow White is the de facto Mayor of "Fabletown", etc...but for fifty issues, the Emperor remained nameless.

(And no, I'm not spoiling it. Not even if you paid me large amounts of cash. But don't let that stop you from trying).

Issues 75 and 76 deal with the "end of the war", and of the Emperor's transition back into "normal" life in Fabletown. But the reason I say that it's a sharp piece of political satire isn't in making direct parallels, but in how it deals with almost real-world issues (and potential repercussions) in fantasy-related terms. It was when Senator Obama talked about how what should happen in finding Osama bin Laden that kicked off my thoughts about Fables as political satire.

In these issues, we see the "Enemy" defeated, and granted amnesty in Fabletown...but in these two issues, we are granted some insight into how exactly would our enemies be treated? Or, as many a bad science fiction/cop show cliche would use as a plot, how much would a known criminal (either killer or war criminal) be able to get away with? How well would they integrate into society? And watching the Fabletown powers-that-be discuss how they would handle this new situation...well, for some it might be slightly cliche; for others, it comes rather close to typical business-as-usual.

If you're not reading Fables, you might as well start with # 1 and work your way forward. Trust me, comics rarely - if ever - get this good.

Very Highly Recommended

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