Review by Frank Plowright
This book contains the entirety of The Good Prince collection minus the single sub-standard chapter, and as such is as good as Fables gets.
For much of the series Ambrose, or Flycatcher, has been moping around the place performing menial tasks well beneath his capabilities. It’s the only way he’s able to suppress the horrific memories of his family’s murder as seen in 1001 Nights of Snowfall (or Deluxe Edition volume 4). Whimsically cursed by a witch and destined to transform to a frog in moments of stress, he did so at a critical moment and was unable to defend his family.
An encounter with Santa Claus in the previous volume removed some mental barriers, and while the initial result has been to send him deep into depression, that’s only the first stage of a magnificent transformation. It’s noted early that he was one of the few cast members to arrive in Fabletown not requiring any kind of absolution or forgiveness for previous events, and this virtue is instrumental in what he becomes.
The remainder of the story features another redemption for a character until now unseen, the return of many dead Fables and a substantial power shift. Bill Willingham surely can’t have written many stories that have played out as satisfyingly as this. There’s an irony as well, as had it not been for artist Mark Buckingham’s fondness for the character, Flycatcher had been selected to number among the casualties of the earlier Battle for Fabletown.
Buckingham’s art is, as ever, exemplary, whether inked by Steve Leialoha or Andrew Pepoy, and anyone not enjoying this volume is unlikely to discover much they’ll like elsewhere in Fables.