Okay, first of all, what the hell has been going on in Fables while I’ve been away? Shit is MESSED UP. Second of all, this was way more of a Fables story than it was an Unwritten story, and it was a clunky Fables story at that.
I haven’t checked in with Fables in years, and the last one I read was Vol. 6, Homelands. That ended in a very, very different place than this one began in, but it’s not hard to get into the groove of what’s going on. In fact, they go out of their way to make sure you know what’s going on, exposition so expositiony it’s even called out by the characters. That call-out is meant to make it okay, hang on a lamp on it if you will, but it’s still awkward and I don’t think it worked very well. I also found all of the Fables characters to be uninteresting in the context of this story. I was reading The Unwritten, and I wanted The Unwritten, but what I got was mostly under-cooked, confusing Fables.
The premise of the whole shebang is that in the midst of trying to get to the source of all story, Tom is pulled into the Fables world by magic, where the last of the surviving Fables are holding off against Mister Dark, who has enslaved the world, corrupted and married Snow White (and her children) and holds Bigby Wolf captive. Many of the Fables are dead, and more die with every encounter. They cast a spell to pull a powerful wizard in to their world, one who can save them all. What they get is Tom, and they are very disappointed by him. Frau Totenkinder pulls Sue and Peter in as well, and suddenly Tom is Tommy. Things don’t go very well, and it’s not actually very fun to read about even when it is working as a story.
But aside from the clunky dialogue, exposition, and the way the worlds and tones of the stories just fit poorly together, the whole thing is moot anyway, because the book ends with Tommy (view spoiler) (Also, Buckingham’s art suffered in comparison to Peter Gross’s, especially where The Unwritten characters were concerned.) The only thing we learn is that everything, all story worlds, exist in Leviathan. Including maybe our own.
I wasn’t as disappointed by this as some people were, but it’s by far the worst book of the series. It was a good idea in theory to put two stories about stories together, but it didn’t work very well in execution.