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YMMV / Fables

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Bigby is a very divisive and controversial figure. Some perceive his treatment as a glorification and rationalisation for an amoral savage thrill-killing callous cannibalistic social-Darwinist Villain Protagonist, that represents the absolutely worst that real life humanity has to offer, whereas others simply see him as a badass or a responsible family man.
    • Another questionable aspect of Bigby is his insistence that he doesn't care about human morality because he's a wolf, despite the fact that he regularly shows that he has an astute grip on human ethics, law, politics, etc. This suggests that he perfectly understands morality, but uses being a wolf as an excuse to commit immoral actions and not have to justify them.
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  • Anticlimax Boss: Leigh Douglas becomes Mister Dark's apprentice, and is set up to become the final Big Bad of the series. She's very easily and unceremoniously killed by Rose Red, achieving none of her goals.
  • Ass Pull: When the Adversary is finally defeated and captured, the heroes choose to not kill him. The reason given basically boils down to wanting to show that they have the moral high ground. Keep in mind, this is the Adversary, a man who has killed countless billions of innocent people across numerous worlds. It’s hard to imagine a situation where they don’t have moral superiority over him.
    • Discussed in detail by the characters themselves, and it was a deal with Pinocchio for necessary information. Many of the characters are not happy with it.
  • Awesome Art: James Jean's covers were striking, emotive and haunting, and for which he won 6 consecutive Eisner Awards for Best Cover Artist. It's likely he could have pushed his streak further if he hadn't retired from the comic book industry.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Jack to extremes. Views shift from Loveable Rogue to monster virtually identical to Max Piper.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The story where Bigby has to save one of his sons from being attacked by monsters (revealed to be his brothers). The battle's narration stretches quite a few lines, apparently causing natural catastrophes hundreds of miles away, making mundy's go insane and.. causing two-headed cows to be born? ... what? It also makes Snow see The North Wind the same way Bigby sees him, resulting in her calling him an "evil old man." Cue the end of the chapter however, and, with the exception of Bigby's brothers being introduced as minor roles in the story, none of this is ever mentioned again.
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  • Bizarro Episode: The Great Fables Crossover.
  • Broken Base: Bill Willingham's decision to use the comic as a platform to express his political views turned a lot of fans away from the comic, to say the very least.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Leigh Douglas, formerly Mrs. Sprat, shows her dark side when she reveals that she became a nurse to see other Fables suffering by her hand. She later gladly teams up with the personification of darkness, Mr. Dark, to destroy her former home in exchange for beauty and power. Once Dark is defeated, Leigh takes her place back in Fabletown proper, but plans to use a spell to seize control of Bigby Wolf and use him as a feral weapon to slaughter other Fables, intending to use him to exterminate the Fables of her old home. Out of spite, she plans to mutilate and torture the "pretty ones" until they're hideous, then kill them. Her worst deed is sending Bigby to murder his former wife and their young children. Despite her new-found beauty, Leigh proves at every opportunity no other Fables is as hideous inside as her.
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    • Peter & Max: A Fables novel: Max Piper is consumed by his desire for power and his unbelievable narcissism. When the Homelands are invaded by the Adversary's forces, Max murders other survivors for supplies. Hungering for revenge against his brother Peter for inheriting the family flute Frost, Max goes out of his way to torment him, in one case crippling Peter's wife Bo Peep to hurt Peter. Max travels across the land while spreading chaos and destruction, even casting a spell to sterilize the entire Fable race. In his most famous act, Max steals the children of towns that refuse to pay him for his services and uses them to pay off bargains to dark powers he has made, adding "the little brats didn't die happy."
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This bounds to happen whenever the comic reviewed which horrible actions one of the "hero" of the story arc committed in their past. This is especially prevalent to any stories starring Jack, Bigby and even Snow White to a lesser extent.
    • After the Mr. Dark storyline, this began to set in for much of the fandom. After winning against the empire, and then against the incarnation of Darkness himself, the heroes fall apart into a civil war. While the surviving characters did eventually earn their happy ending, it was getting a bit absurd how badly things continued to get despite the victories.
  • Designated Hero: The Fables can sometimes get a tad... extreme in their attempts to keep hidden. The Tommy Sharp incident is a good example. Add to that how many of them are massive hypocrites and you get some characters that are the embodiment of the Good Is Not Nice trope.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Flycatcher seems to be really popular. Kind of unavoidable given what a massive woobie the poor guy is, not to mention his surprising badassery. Also helped by the fact that he's the only Fable who's completely good.
  • Evil Is Cool: Plenty of the villains, but the Adversary stands out in terms of sheer badassery.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • This thread [1] discussing who the superior character is between Bigby and Wolverine.
    • With Once Upon a Time due to both having the initial high-concept of "fairy tale characters trapped in the modern world". However, this was mostly in the run-up to Once Upon A Time being first broadcast, it dropped quite a lot when the first few episodes of the TV show made it clear how significantly different the actual plots and styles of the works were. Despite this, many Fables' fans still blame Once Upon A Time for being the main reason why Fables hasn't been adapted to another media yet.
  • Foe Yay: Cinderella and a gender bent Dorothy Gale.
  • Genius Bonus: Plenty of the characters who are not explicitly named or only slowly implied. Not to mention; in the first Jack of fables book, we see a black janitor named "Sam" who doesn't seem to remember where he is. By the end of the book, he starts running very fast and we see that the tigers had been turned into butter, and Revise shouts that he thought he had him censored - who's he talking about? The Story of Little Black Sambo.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Remember the story arc with Jack filming a movie trilogy about himself that kicked off the Jack of Fables spinoff? Yeah, that's sort-of a real thing now.
    • Even more hilarious in that the real life version was an epic-level flop, as opposed to the fictional versions' record-shattering success.
  • Hollywood Homely: A subversion with Mrs. Sprat who is very fat and very homely, and also a Perpetual Frowner and Battle Axe Nurse. In Fables #100, Snow White calls her on the fact that she is both ugly and mean, and that is why no one likes her. In a "The Reason You Suck" Speech moment, Snow explains that she herself is beautiful but can be quite a bitch at times, but her beauty lets her get away with it. Likewise, a woman can be ugly as sin but have a pleasant and charming personality, and that will let people get close to her. Since Mrs. Sprat is both ugly and mean, she needs an attitude adjustment before she pisses off the wrong person.
    • Could be considered to be played straight eventually. In the beginning Nurse Spratt had a much more cartoony and haggard appearance. When she became a bigger part of the story, while she didn't look as pretty as the other female fables (not yet, anyway), her appearance was a bit less exaggerated.
    • This may also be attributed to the fact that Mark Buckingham was given more of a chance to add detail to her facial expressions since she had more panel time devoted to her than previously, where she was either a wordless background character or a minor character with a couple of word balloons.
  • It Was His Sled: It's become pretty common knowledge that Snow and Bigby end up together.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Spratt falls into this, when she is seen the only fable left on the arm, crying to herself as everyone else had literally left her to be killed by Mr. Dark. Of course, Spratt isn't exactly nice, and the Fables themselves aren't exactly shining paragons or morality either.
    • Bigby was this even before he pulled a Heel–Face Turn and left the Homelands. His backstory shows just how miserable of a life he had before he went bad.
    • Mr. Dark and Mr. Revise.
  • Love to Hate: Jack and the Adversary.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Some consider Jack taking advantage of an emotionally devastated Rose Red (to the point that she didn't even realise who he was) in order to have sex with her in The Great Fables Crossover to be the point where he stops being the guy you love to hate, causing the reader to just hate him instead. On the other hand, given his treatment of the Snow Queen, he was a villain nearly from the very beginning. His worst act may have been selling his own son to demons to save his own skin.
    • Totenkinder sacrificed every child on the planet to fuel her own power against Mister Dark in The Unwritten crossover.
    • Hansel murdering Gretel certainly counts, though he may have crossed it even earlier with his countless witch burnings.
    • Bluebeard murdering Tommy Sharp just to ensure he couldn't tell anyone about Fabletown. Especially since the other Fables had taken care of that situation weeks beforehand so his typical excuse of wanting to protect Fabletown doesn't hold up well.
    • Goldilocks and the Colin's cousins murdering Colin for undermining their revolution.
    • In Happily Ever After, Rose Red pretty much soars into this, planning to fulfill an ancient curse that says she or Snow has to kill the other in order to inherit the family's magical power. If it weren't enough that she happily intends to go through with it, she also plans to do it by controlling Bigby into killing her, and apparently also their children. The fact that she's being fueled by hoards of powerful and evil spirits might imply that her mind has been corrupted which led to the dramatic Face–Heel Turn. If not, there's no excuse left for her actions this time. Ultimately a Subverted Trope in this case: Rose decides that considering Snow has had children of both genders, the curse can be or has been broken, so she decides to Screw Destiny and leave her be, making amends with her and promising they can write one another.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Bigby Wolf in his origin story. A wolf bigger than a clydesdale horse. Half its mouth is covered in blood. Standing on top of knights, soldiers, and civilians eaten alive in a gory burning field. Looking the reader right in the eyes.
    • What Gepetto did to the Blue Fairy.
    • What Totenkinder engineered to happen to Yusuf.
    • One cover featuring witchhunter Hansel drowning two women.
    • In the Fairest spin-off, Rapunzel's Dark and Troubled Past shows that basically the legend of Sadako happened to her. Her time spent down the well, and her insane rampage when she crawls out of it, come straight out of a horror story.
    • Goldilocks is pretty nightmarish with her Cold Sniper personality and the brutal fashions she kills people in.
    • After her husband has turned Brainwashed and Crazy, Snow White has a nightmare of coming home to find Bigby having killed all their children and serving them on platters as food.
    • What Kevin Thorn ends up doing to Sam in the Great Fables Crossover. He made The Story of Little Black Sambo so disliked that Same practically disappeared, becoming an immortal ghost unable to bee seen or heard. It was so bad that he was included in the final splash panel, just to confirm that he did get better.
    • Cubs In the Toyland has whole gallons Adult Fear, especially if you're a parent. Each of the toys caused the death of a child. They list those "murders" and they're all completely mundane accidents that could happen to any child playing without supervision.
  • Seasonal Rot: The last three-four issues or so were considered by many to not be as equally strong as the rest of the series.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: At the end, Cinderella and Totenkinder kill each other just before the final battle. However, the outcome of the final battle Rose and Snow realize they don't have to kill each other, averting the battle entirely, making their deaths pointless. Part of the Seasonal Rot mentioned above
  • Stoic Woobie: Snow White. She may not let it slip much but she had a truly horrendous life before coming to Fabletown.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • "A Frog's Eye View" from 1001 Nights of Snowfall.
    • Boy Blue's death, and the wake that follows with nearly every single one of the fables mourning.
    • Darien's death in "Cubs in Toyland". It really hits hit home when right before sacrificing himself, he cries and asks why he has to die when he's still just a kid, who never got to do anything yet.
    • Mr. Dark's death.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Reynard Fox plays a big role in some of the first issues as a cunning badass of great help to Snow White and the Fable Community. After the Revolution arc is over with however, he gets reduced to a background character for the rest of the series.
    • In some ways, Darien Wolf is wasted because, as he said, he was only a kid and didn't get a chance to do much. While he did a Heroic Sacrifice, was the storyline with the toys necessary in the long run?
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • For much of the series Bigby maintains his status under the General Amnesty via generous Loophole Abuse. Notably, he swears to kill numerous people, but then declares his vengeance suspended until some unknown later time. It seems like those Fables would have been obvious targets when he Came Back Wrong. Instead, he's Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Small one, but the fact that all of Snow and Bigby's children can transform between human and wolf (and any other creature they should desire) only seems to serve as plot detail when they're children, as they often transform into wolves and even has to learn how to appear human most of the time. As they get older and start having more character-centric stories, however, their love of transforming into wolves appears to go away as they all eventually stay human on-screen all the time. It would have been interesting to see at least one of the children find out he/she preferred being a wolf and chose to stay permanently in that form, as opposed to his/her siblings and father. At the very least have some of them still occasionally transform into their father's real species which they loved so much as children, instead of making it look like they completely forgot about that ability in the end.
      • It's perhaps most noticeable with Blossom, who is shown at the end to have become a Nature Hero. Yet despite living in nature among animals, official artwork still only portray her as being in human form, when a wolf form would surely have made the most sense in her case.
    • The only mundy to ever find out about Fabletown was Tommy Sharp, who is killed by Bluebeard after his first appearance. It would have been interesting if a more affable mundy had learned about the Fables and to see what sort of interactions they would have with them.
  • Too Cool to Live: Colin and Boy Blue.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • If you're pro-choice Frau Totenkinder (at least after her backstory) probably comes across as somewhere between a Pragmatic Hero, Retired Monster, and Only Sane Man. Particularly when you consider that everyone in Fabletown would likely be dead a dozen times over if she'd lost her power.
    • The Cubs in Toyland arc. The toys reveal that Toyland is a version of hell for toys who killed their owners and the toys accept the charge, with Therese outright calling them killers. But in every example they give, the 'crimes' of the toys aren't being a Killer Teddy Bear or Perverse Puppet, but simply things like being made of flammable material or the owner choking while chewing on them; events that are completely out of the toys' control and far more the fault of whoever made them, or the adults who should have been supervising the child.
  • What an Idiot!: Tommy Sharp who suspects that the citizens of Fabletown are vampires. He decides to go right up to them and say that he thinks they are immortal vampires.
    • It gets even better when we learn WHY he revealed his "knowledge" to them: He thought they deserved a chance to tell their side of the story before he published it.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Bufkin's own story arc "Revolution in Oz" starts out weird and only becomes weirder and weirder till it borders on down right bizarre, to the point you wish you were rather reading "Alice in Wonderland". Though if one is familiar with Oz... some tropes may be surprisingly familiar.
  • The Woobie:
    • Flycatcher. His entire family was murdered before his eyes — with his wife and eldest daughter gang-raped before they were killed — while he was powerless to do anything since his curse had turned him back into a frog at the worst possible moment. The trauma caused his mind to suppress the horrendous memory, and he spent centuries believing his family was still alive, only to finally remember their deaths when his wife's ghost is brought back for only a few precious seconds to kiss him and reverse his curse yet again. Even after he becomes a hero and King of Haven, he still has to deal with his guilt over feeling he's betraying his late wife while falling in love with Red Riding Hood.
    • Colin. He just wants to get off the Farm and ultimately his desire for freedom gets him murdered by Goldilocks.
    • Boy Blue is a Heartbroken Badass who's suffered a big Trauma Conga Line. And than he practically gets an obsessive religion devoted to him when he just wants to live a normal life with Red-themed characters.
    • Pinocchio for spending years not knowing what happened to his father Geppetto since fleeing from the Adversary only for him to discover Geppetto IS the Adversary and the true mind behind the Empire.

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