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Bill Willingham – Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers

October 23, 2008

131. Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Craig Hamilton, Steve Leialoha, and P. Craig Russell (2004)
Fables, Volume 4

Read my Review of:
Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Vol. 2: Animal Farm
Vol. 3: Storybook Love

Length: 240 pages

Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Started: 19 October 2008, about 2:15 in the morning
Finished: 19 October 2008, after I’d gotten some sleep

Red Riding Hood lives,
but she’s not quite what she seems.
Get ready for war!

Summary: March of the Wooden Soldiers contains the nine-issue story of the Battle of Fabletown. It starts with Little Boy Blue reminiscing about the fall of the last freehold in the Homelands to the forces of the Adversary – a battle in which he had to leave Red Riding Hood, his love, behind as he escaped into the mundy world. However, when Red shows up in Fabletown with a story of captivity and torture, most Fables are willing to welcome her with open arms. However, she comes at a time of turmoil – Prince Charming and King Cole are heating up their campaigns for mayor, Snow White’s hugely pregnant, and mysterious goons who seemingly can’t be hurt are stalking the night, beating up Fables – and Bigby’s not entirely convinced that her story’s on the level.

Review: Very, very good. In this volume, we not only get some new characters (Red Riding Hood, obviously, but also Robin Hood and Co.) and see some old characters come into the spotlight, but we learn more about the Fables’ history, and get some more hints as to the identity and motivation of the Adversary (I’m about 98% sure I’ve figured it out.) The art’s great throughout, if a little bit graphic by the end. Finally, while the end isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, the tenuous stability and peace achieved by the end is so obviously going to shatter at the first touch, the reader’s left wanting to immediately dive into the next volume. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: My favorite of the series so far.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Things Mean a Lot, Rhinoa’s Ramblings
Did I miss your review? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2008 8:16 am

    Do you think this is another fantasy where religion or church is the enemy?

  2. October 23, 2008 8:24 am

    AR – No, I can’t think of a single instance throughout the series thus far where religion’s even been mentioned. I guess you could stretch things to find some religious parallels, but that’s true for most things if you look hard enough.

  3. October 23, 2008 2:43 pm

    I loooved this one too. And The Adversary…I won’t say anything about it because any comment I make might unintentionally give too much away :P

    The next book, The Mean Seasons, is enjoyable, but unfortunately it goes back to stalling a little bit…it’s only with 6 that we get back to some real plot development!

  4. October 23, 2008 2:54 pm

    Nymeth – I actually finished The Mean Seasons last night – I’m wicked behind on my reviews thanks to the read-a-thon! It is a little stall-y, but I liked the story so much that it didn’t matter.

    And I was right about the Adversary – I was talking to a friend about it, and he pulled one of those “I’m not going to say if you’re right or wrong, but tell me who you think it is” – and then it was really obvious from his face that I was right…. and then he broke down and actually told me. :)

    Vols. 6-9 are coming in to the library!

  5. October 24, 2008 9:43 am

    Sounds good. I read a graphic novel for the first time a couple of months ago and the experience really surprised me. Ultimately the subject didn’t grab me…but this sounds like it could.

  6. October 24, 2008 9:54 am

    AR – If you like fairy tales and fairy tale retellings at all, I’d definitely give Fables a shot. If you don’t like it, then it’s short enough that you didn’t waste much time. :)

  7. October 24, 2008 4:27 pm

    I loved this one too, it was the action that really drew me in for this volume. I’ve no ideas yet on the Adversary’s identity, perhaps I’m slow or just too enmeshed in the current characters (lol) :)

  8. October 25, 2008 8:43 am

    Joanne – Don’t feel bad, I’m normally completely clueless as to those sorts of things too. I’ve got friends who will read books and be like “well, I could tell that X, Y, and Z were going to happen as soon as they said Q in the second chapter,” and I’m almost always like “Huh. X, Y, and Z were a total surprise to me.”

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