So this volume collects 3 different threads, woven somewhat together for us.
1) Jack left Fabletown in an earlier volume, here we see him go to Hollywood and make it big in the movies, with stolen wealth from his fellow fables. He’s tracked down by Beast, the new Sheriff, and allowed to escape, but never to return to Fabletown. I believe this sets up the whole spin-off series Jack of Fables, which Willingham also writes. This Jack isn’t a minor screw up like the previous volumes show, this shows him being pretty savvy, and just a bit of an egomaniac. I will be interested to see his solo adventures.
2)Boy Blue took off with the magic cloak and sword, and makes his way through the original Homelands, on a personal quest for numerous reasons. Along the way we have many revelations, as well as finally, the Adversary himself! I won’t give it away, but it’s a great idea in many ways, taken sort of from another famous story…at least interpreted similarly. It’s explained very well too, and helps set up the Adversary as how he started innocently enough, yet slipped into full out evil monster by the end.
3)Mowgli arrives back in Fabletown, he was away, as a traveller of the world (a spy for Fabletown and Bigby) when he returns, we see that his best friend Bagheera the Panther is still locked up from his role in the attempted coup at the Farm. Mayor Prince Charming offers Mowgli a deal: go find Bigby and bring him back to Fabletown, because Bigby is the only one who can lead the Fables into war against the Adversary.
So I liked this volume a lot; no Snow White, not tons of fables, no Bigby was a downside, but his mere mention holds power over the book, so I don’t worry that he’s not going to be back. Beast and Charming have done pretty well taking over from Bigby and Cole, who we also don’t see.
I liked it a lot, and at this point I’ve just come to enjoy it altogether the whole series. In some ways it takes from Hellboy by updating myth/fable/etc. into reality, but not nearly as Gothic or Dark.
That being said, Boy Blue really makes a name for himself, and I’m looking forward to more Mowgli adventures.