Title: In Those Days
Writer: Bill Willingham
Art (Prologue): Rick Leonardi & Ron Randall
Art (A Delicate Balance): P. Craig Russell & Lovern Kindzierski
Art (A Magic Life): Zander Cannon & Jim Fern
Art (The Way of the World): Ramon Bachs & Ron Randall
Art (Porky Pining): Adam Hughes
Letters: Todd Klein
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Cover Art: Joao Roas
Editor: Shelly Bond
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
One of the best things about Fables is that, even after all these years, Bill Willingham keeps finding ways to mix up the formula of the book. In-between longer stories, he often does one-off issues that may set the seeds for future storylines, or tie off past storylines, or maybe just stand on their own. This issue feels like it does at least two of those at once, as we see a magical travelling performer weave several short stories about Fables both new and familiar.
Among the stories, we see a tale of a faithless queen and the punishment she brings upon her kingdom, a sorcerer whose downfall led us to the background of our more prominent Fables, a sailing clan unaware of the true nature of their world, and a hysterical story of a porcupine with an inventive curse. Of the four, it’s the longest (Cannon and Fern’s “A Magic Life”) that seems least complete in and of itself, ending up as it does off to the sidelines of our regular cast. The text itself implies that this story may not be over yet as well, but it stops far short of promising a return. “A Delicate Balance” and “The Way of the World” are tied together in an interesting way and create a world I’d like to see the title return to one of these days. And “Porky Pining”… well, it’s just funny as anything, and it’s got some rare, gorgeous interior art by Adam Hughes.
It’s an offbeat issue, but it’s exactly the sort of thing that Fables needs once in a while. I’m glad that the title has the freedom to do things like this when the creators see fit.