Fables 18: Cubs in Toyland

fables volume 18 cubs in toyland cover trade paperback tpb
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10

Darker than many Fables storylines

Bigby back-up story was a little weak

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Fables

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  Bill Willingham

Artist:  Mark Buckingham/Steve Leialoha/Gene Ha/Andrew Pepoy/Dan Green

# of Issues:  10

Release Date:  2013


Fables #114

Reprints Fables #114-123 (April 2012-January 2013).  Therese is on an adventure.  Spirited away by her toy boat, Therese finds herself in Toyland, but the toys of Toyland have secrets and Therese could pay the price.  Meanwhile, Darien finds himself responsible for the cubs and sets out on a mission to save Therese…and Dare will find out what true sacrifice means.  Plus, Ambrose recalls a tale of his father’s past and his encounter that changed his fate.

Written by Bill Willingham and illustrated by Mark Buckingham, Fables Volume 18:  Cubs in Toyland is the follow-up to Fables Volume 17:  Inherit the Wind.  The story contains the eight part “Cubs in Toyland” and the two part “The Destiny Game”.  Not included in the collection is the “A Revolt in Oz” back-up storyline which is included in Fables 19:  Snow White.  Issues in this collection are also included in Fables Deluxe Edition—Book 13.

I love Fables and despite its age, it still continues to be an interesting series.  As the series begins to wind down, it feels more dangerous and dark.  Fables Volume 18:  Cubs in Toyland is one of the darker storylines thus far in the telling.


Fables #118

Much of the “Cubs in Toyland” storyline is based around the legend of the Fisher King.  Toyland is this creepy wasteland where nothing grows and both Therese and Dare find themselves stranded there…dying.  It is populated by toys who have inadvertently lead to children’s deaths and the whole set-up is rather dark.  The toys want to be restored and the cubs want to leave…the result of course is a sacrifice which restores the land.  It is dark and cold and lacks much of the humor that even some of the dark early stories housed.

The second storyline “The Destiny Game” feels a bit like a throwaway.  After the darkness of “Cubs in Toyland”, readers probably needed a breather and this is simply another Bigby Wolf story.  It does do some foreshadowing of potential future events, but for the most part, it feels a bit like more of the same in a long line of stories about Bigby.  It isn’t bad but it also seems like it could have been designated to other unexplored Fables characters.

I am sad to see that Fables is on its way out.  The series has been a great place to visit over the years and opposed to many comics, it really does feel that years have passed in the comic.  I like that Fables can go from light stories to dark stories, but it does sometimes feel jarring when you’ve come to expect more jokes and fun.  Fables 18:  Cubs in Toyland is followed by Fables Volume 19:  Snow White.

Preceded By:

Fables Volume 17:  Inherit the Wind

Followed By:

Fables Volume 19:  Snow White

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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