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Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers Paperback – November 1, 2004
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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Willingham's happy idea of bringing the Fables--that is, the characters of Europe's best-known fairy tales--to contemporary New York rolls merrily, dangerously along in two stories. The former, "The Last Castle," guest-drawn by P. Craig Russell and Craig Hamilton, flashes back to the Fables' last stand in their home world; echoing the Disney and John Wayne Alamo flicks and Peter Jackson's Two Towers, it winningly introduces the long title story, in which Boy Blue reencounters the love he loses in "The Last Castle"--the grown-up Red Riding Hood. But is this the same Red? Reason for doubt precedes her in goblin sightings near a door between this and the Fables' worlds--and goblins can only be harbingers of impending attack by the Adversary, who drove the Fables into exile. Meanwhile, what's with these toughies in black suits who look like Pinocchio? Willingham never sacrifices a joke for the sake of a thrill, or vice versa, and artist Mark Buckingham continues matching Willingham joke for thrill, and vice versa. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Bill Willingham has been writing, and sometimes drawing, comics for more than 20 years. During that time, he's had work published by nearly every comics publisher in the business, and he's created many critically acclaimed comic book series, including Elementals, Coventry, Proposition Players, and of course the seminal Vertigo series Fables, as well as its spin-off series Fairest, Jack of Fables and The Literals. His work has been nominated for many awards, including the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz comic industry awards and the International Horror Guild award. He lives somewhere near a good poker room.
Born in 1966 in the English seaside town of Clevedon, Mark Buckingham has worked in comics professionally for the past twenty years. In addition to illustrating all of Neil Gaiman's run on the post-Alan Moore Miracleman in the early 1990s, Buckingham contributed inks to The Sandman and its related miniseries Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life as well as working on various other titles for Vertigo and Marvel through the end of the decade. In 2002 he took over as the penciller for Bill Willingham's Fables, which has gone on to become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed Vertigo titles of the new millennium. When not in Clevedon, Buckingham can be found with his wife Irma in the Asturias region of northern Spain.
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While I've loved all the first four books in the FABLES series (I have already ordered 5-7 from Amazon), the third entry, fell just below the best volumes simply because the numbers contained too many arcs. This volume, however, ties all the individual issues together, even the beginning, which focuses on the final battle of the fables against the Adversary. The central story, or the A plot, concerns the near simultaneous arrival of Red Riding Hood and some mysterious fables who have utter disdain for all creatures that they like to refer to as "meat." They turn out to be the title characters of the story. The great battle for Fabletown that culminates the volume is both brilliantly written and drawn.
In future I think I will recommend the FABLES series above all others to people who are completely new to the world of adult comics. They are immediately accessible in a way that other masterpieces like the Sandman books are not (I'm not saying that Gaiman is inaccessible, but that they are better appreciated if they are not the first graphic novels one reads). And the blend of drama, comedy, fantasy, and action would appeal to anyone not blinded by an anti-intellectual disdain of "popular" art (the irony being that self-styled intellectuals who disdain graphic art do so by being amazingly close-minded).
A great entry to a great series. Can't wait for my next stack of books to arrive!
The one-shot shows the last Homelands stand of the Fables against the overpowering forces of The Adversary. It was penciled by Craig Hamilton and P. Craig Russell. This segues into the present-day, seven-part "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" story arc featuring the return of a Fable once thought lost and a new invader threating Fabletown. The 177 pages of penciling for this segment was provided by regular Fables artist Mark Buckingham. I agree with other reviewers about this being the strongest Fables TPB thus far. The cover price offers strong value for an eight issue collection, especially considering Amazon's discount.
I'm not sure if I can say its absolutely the best Fables volume yet, but its certainly up to the same 5-star standard as the others and will not disappoint. Highly recommended.
Bill Willingham's re-imaging of classic fairy tale characters continues to amaze and avoids becoming stale. Another great entry in what is already a phenomenal series.
This one ramps up the pace, with most of the volume focused around the threat to Fabletown and its inhabitants. Be warned, some nice people die here; reminding us that Willigham is not above killing off his characters if it suits him for the sake of drama. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Just sounding a warning.
As always, top-notch entertainment that kept me reading; and re-reading.
Till Noever, owlglass.com, Author: KEAEN, SELDAIENNA, CONTINUITY SLIP