Jack of Fables #3: The Bad Prince
by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, various artists (Vertigo, 2008)

Having peed into the Grand Canyon, our hero Jack is recaptured by the minions of Revise, who wishes to erase the Fables from mortal memory. But the van crashes and lands in the bottom of a ravine, and most of The Bad Prince is spent going nowhere fast.

Jack, a trickster character from any number of stories, has an ego the size of Neptune but, unfortunately, he lacks the depth and layers of interest that make Bill Willingham's flagship Fables series such a success. It's not easy to hang an ongoing series on one character's greed, lust and lack of humility, but that's all Jack has going for him.

Still, Jack of Fables is fun to read simply because the title character is so entertainingly unlikable.

In The Bad Prince, Jack has a magical sword imbedded in his chest. We learn the true relationship between Jack and his dark twin, Wicked John. Jack explains a series of deals struck with a variety of devils in order to maintain a long life -- which doesn't really make sense, since Fables are immortal anyway. The wee Paul Bunyan sets out on a secret mission. And the origin of the Jack o' Lantern is revealed.

It's not the feast that Fables continues to be on a regular basis. But if you're peckish and just want a snack, The Bad Prince should fit the bill 'til dinner is ready.

review by
Tom Knapp

9 August 2008

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