"For Weyland, mighty Weyland, was advancing to the bat."

Fables had an odd 2009. It started off incredibly strong with The Dark Ages storyline, which brought the book's first mega-arc to a close quite nicely, then trudged into The Great Fables Crossover, which ranged from mediocre to OHMIGODITBURNS and then strolled right back into quality with the Witches arc which, despite its weak start, had, in the development of Bufkin, one of the most satisfying character arcs in a series full of such work.

Starting off 2010 with a break, then, makes a lot of sense and a break is exactly what Fables #92 is. With regular artist Mark Buckingham taking a well deserved vacation, David Lapham takes over the pencils on this issue and, while his work is easy to distinguish from Buckingham's, it's familiar enough as not to be jarring. Furthermore, Lapham is a great storyteller for this kind of tale- a little bit whimsical, a little bit criminal, all fabulous. (Sorry.)

Bill Willingham is no slouch here, either. Although he's taking a break from the seriousness that's overwhelmed the Earthbound Fables as of late, he certainly isn't turning down the quality of his writing- this story is just right. (The fairy tale puns stop now, I promise.) In a way, it's about where Fables is, right now, as a book- this is a story about what it means to be victorious and, as things continue to fall apart in the wake of a war's end, the Fables as a whole seem to be having a hard time dealing with the fall out of a hard victory. The price, for those on the Farm, may seem to have become too high.

What we have here, then, is a tale of the difference between a post-victory hangover and what it means to be a real victor. This means it is a tale with a moral which, of course, makes it a Fable. Kudos to Willingham and Lapham for taking some time to remember their source material, and just how broad it is (considering the "Casey at the Bat" homage that makes up the issue's first half and also the title of this review). If you're looking for a good point to hop on to this ship, I think this is probably it- it's a nice little tale, nothing more or less than it has to be.

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