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Jack Of Fables Vol 3: The Bad Prince COMICS RETROSPECTIVE: A Bad Prince, but a very good story!


Jack Of Fables Volume 3 Cover 1 by Brian Bolland. Published by Vertigo.

Jack Of Fables Volume 3: The Bad Prince.

Collecting 'Jack Of Fables' Issues 12-16.

Written by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges.

Pencils by Tony Akins (Issue 12-15) & Russ Braun (Issue 13-14).

Inks by Andrew Pepoy (Issues 12-15).

Art by Andrew Robinson (Issue 15).


Last time around, very little of note happened. Seriously, I was a little harsh in the Retro and I'm kinda sorry, but I always wasn't exactly incorrect, so, yeah. Basically, Jack went to Vegas and spent the whole time being a dick to everyone. He married some directionless heiress, then inherited her empire when she and her father were murdered. There was also Lady Luck, who ate brains to remain lucky. Evidently this wasn't a flawless plan, as she ended up getting taken in by the Librarians, and Jack escaped once more, although he was broke again... This time, there's actual plot (!) and it's pretty freakin good.


Chapter 12: Hit the Road, Jack - Part One of The Bad Prince. Jack and PF/Gary/Kevin are back on the road, in their efforts to stay one step ahead of Golden Boughs. This lasts for all of two pages, before Priscilla captures them again. Of course, capturing Jack is easy... keeping hold of him? Not so much.


first chapter title without 'Jack' in it. I guess they forgot.

Chapter 13: I Forget - Part Two of The Bad Prince. Jack is having a rather rough time. Not only did the van carrying him crash, allowing for his (sort of) escape... but while attempting to warm up by the fire he got run through with Excalibur. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, former reporter Kevin Thorne makes a perplexing discovery, when he attempts to show his old boss the results of his investigations.


Chapter 14: The Legend of Wicked John - Part Three of The Bad Prince. The Library attempt to bring in Kevin Thorne, and wipe his memory. Meanwhile, Jack has to come to grips with a rather upsetting revelation... he's just a bad copy.


Chapter 15: (Enchanted) Blade Runner - Part Four of The Bad Prince. John's story continues, and slowly becomes Jack's story. Because there's something odd going on, with stories... Meanwhile, Kevin's true nature is revealed, and almost everyone makes it out of the Grand Canyon.


Chapter 16: Jack O' Lantern. We take a little time out, to tell a spooky tale of how Jack sold his sold to the devil for longer life. Then he did it again. And again. And again. I'm guessing he doesn't realise Fables are immortal.


Come on now Jack, you're so much more than that. You're also an insufferable bellend.

Wow... That was a bit of a step up from last time, wasn't it? A giant, zero gravity moon step. That was a Paul Bunyan at his largest, crossing the USA in a single bound step up from Volume 2. We had some laughs, we had some scares, and we had a few hints towards the dire events to come. Couldn't have asked for more than that!


Best character in this series. By FAR.

Okay, NOW we're talking. I think it's best we just all forget about Volume 2, because this is more like what we've come to expect from Fables!


It's funny, Kevin Thorne cropped up a few times in the core book and then just sort of... vanished. I was wondering if he was waiting to come back after the current drama was resolved, or something... but now we know! He'd popped off to appear in Jack of Fables instead! I'm very much enjoying his current arc. Honestly, the Jack stuff was... all right, in this book. He's still an utter tool, and I very much enjoyed seeing him sit around with a sword through his chest for most of this volume, but let's be fair here, he is by far the least interesting thing happening in his book, right now.


The real story is being told around him, and that's what has me so interested. So Kevin Thorne, who we originally met as a seemingly normal reporter who somehow was able to remember Fables, is NOT just some random reporter. He is, in actual fact, one of the fundamental forces of Story, and the father of Mr Revise. He's also the son of Jack of Fables MVP Pathetic Fallacy.

I'm never tumble drying again.

Kevin's whole arc this volume was excellent, from being told that all his storybooks filled with "evidence" were written in his own hand, to being retrieved by The Librarians and revealing his true nature, this is EXACTLY what I wanted from this series.


My only problem was that it all felt a little rushed. We went from "Oh, Kevin's back!" to "Holy crap, Kevin is basically a god!" in about two issues. This coming RIGHT after a whole volume was basically wasted telling a story that developed nothing, and I can't help but feel like this time could have been far better spent.


I mean, imagine if the whole "Pathetic Fallacy wants to be called Kevin, but every time he does Kevin Thorne hears someone calling his name" joke had started back in Volume 1. Then, in Volume 2, We see Kevin meeting with his editor, to reveal his vast amounts of evidence about Fabletown, finishing off with him being told that all the books, even the classic first editions were written in his hand writing.


Then, as an aside, we get the story of Jack being essentially a spelling error, and we get a brief flash of someone writing in a large book. With identical handwriting to what we were shown in Kevin's volumes.


Then, the second volume ends with him being carted away by the Librarians... only to have his whole arc in Volume 3 be him at Golden Boughs, finding out that he's NOT just some random reporter, he is in fact a godlike being who keeps having his memory erased by Mr Revise... who is also his son.


I mean... TELL me that wouldn't have been amazing. With a straight face, tell me that wouldn't have been a better use of page space than five issues of Jack trying as hard as he can to sleep with anyone wearing a dress in Vegas.


Ah well, hindsight is 20/20 and all that nonsense.


At least we're in a good place, now. Or should I say, in a good place FOR now. Because while the Junior Librarians were carting Kevin back home, they used a specific name for him... a name that I just might have spotted in the big cross over event.


Big things are coming, to Fabletown. Big, scary things...


The Bro Devil was my favourite devil introduced in this story.

Overall, Volume 3 was a HUGE step up from Volume 2. Actually developing characters and plots in a satisfying way, and setting down some solid foundations for what is shaping up to be a very strong ongoing arc. I'm very intrigued by the concepts they're building here, and the idea that it's not just Fables and Mundys (we normal folks) kicking about. The idea that there's a third group, who are the embodiment of aspects of storytelling, and have some control over the Fables... it's as interesting for me as it will no doubt be terrifying for the residents of Fabletown. I can't wait to see how they handle this!


If you're as excited as I am, come back next time for Jack of Fables Volume 4: Americana, collecting Chapters #17-21. Jack hits the road in seach of a lost city of gold. Aided by his sidekicks Paul Bunyan, Humpty Dumpty, Gary the Pathetic Fallacy and the mysterious Hillary Page, Jack’s in for the adventure of a lifetime!


Am I always going to end thes Retros with a shot of Jack getting hurt? Yeah, probably...

 

Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.

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