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Review: Fables — March of the Wooden Soldiers

Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers is the fourth comic in the Fables series by Bill Willingham.  This is the longest comic so far in the series, but it tells a huge story, develops characters, and ends with a great cliffhanger.

To get caught up with Fables, you can read my previous reviews: Legends in Exile, Animal Farm, and Storybook Love.

The volume starts out with Boy Blue recalling the last battle in the Homelands against the Adversary where he meets his true love, Little Red Riding Hood, who he thinks was killed in the last battle. Surprise surprise, Red Riding Hood shows up in Fabletown with a story of escaping the Adversary, but Bigby doesn’t believe her.  At the same time, Fables are being attacked all over the place by a scary and seemingly invincible foe, Snow White is pregnant, and politics are heating up.

I like this volume because it accomplished a lot without being too overwhelming.  The plot constantly surprised me, and I felt like I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but not in a bad way. We also learn more about the Adversary and the Homelands. Familiar characters like Boy Blue get developed, and we see characters from previous editions showing up in new ways.  There are new Fables including Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood, and Pinocchio.

Willingham is also really good at building a world efficiently.  I’m not sure if that makes sense.  So, for example, in just a few panels we see that Rose Red has developed a relationship with Weyland out on the farm.  This fleshes out a lot about the Fables universe, builds Rose Red and Weyland as characters, and then has an emotional impact later.  I really love that about this volume in particular.

And although the volume wraps everything up at the end, the solutions are to tenuous that I’m sure all hell is going to break out in the next one.

Links to Enjoy:

Other Reviews: Fyrefly’s Book Blog

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This post is part of National Blog Posting Month for the month of November. You can find out more about NaBloPoMo here and view my NaBloPoMo profile page here. Thanks for reading!

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  • Andi November 14, 2008, 6:10 pm

    This is one of the books I’ve re-read the least because I didn’t use it in any of my grad school work. It was a good one, though, and I should revisit it. I also need to get caught up on the two newest volumes.

  • Kim L November 14, 2008, 10:02 pm

    Ooh, stop making these books sound so good or I’ll have nothing else on my wish list besides these graphic novels!

  • Joanne November 15, 2008, 12:12 am

    Great review! I finished this one but couldn’t quite get my mind around what to write about it since there was so much going on here.

    I loved the bits about Rose and Weyland, and also learning more of Pinocchio’s background. And I agree 100% – this one ended so well that there’s bound to be a blow-out coming soon.

  • Kim November 15, 2008, 9:19 am

    Andi: What was your grad school work in? Comic books?

    Kim L: I know! I’ve stopped buying comics because I feel like they don’t quite get their money’s worth (I read them too quickly). The library has been awesome for getting these.

    Joanne: Yeah, this one had a lot going on! I have The Mean Seasons, and I skimmed it, but I haven’t had time to sit down and read it yet.

  • fyreflybooks November 16, 2008, 6:44 pm

    I think “efficient” is an excellent term for it – two or three panels with maybe five lines of dialogue, and suddenly *poof* there’s a whole secondary story there! It’s pretty incredible.

  • Kim November 17, 2008, 8:37 am

    fyreflybooks: It is incredible. I wonder if it is something you can really only do in comic books, or if there are other movie or book examples of authors that can build a universe with as little work as Willingham does.