Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrators: Mark Buckingham (penciller, inker), Craig Hamilton (penciller), P. Craig Russel (penciller, inker), and Steve Leialoha (inker),
The fourth volume of the Fables series tells two related story arcs. The first takes place during the French Revolution, where Little Boy Blue and several other fables are under attack by the Adversary. We are introduced to Red Riding Hood, who arrives to the Fable stronghold, barely hanging onto her life. Red Riding Hood has a fling with Little Boy Blue as the Adversary’s army advances and through the course of the battle, the relationship between the two ends up being a tragic love story.
The major story arc takes place in modern times and there are three men who begin to stir up trouble, particularly with the fables. Pinocchio surmises that these men are wooden soldiers created by none other than an enslaved Ghepetto. Meanwhile, Red Riding Hood suddenly shows up on the scene, who is immediately under the suspicion of Bigby Wolf. She claims that she has escaped the enslavement of the Adversary, but Bigby isn’t buying her story. Little Boy Blue is a little more willing to believe her and after a little spat, they rekindle their passion.
March of the Wooden Soldiers is an all out, bloody battle of an army of wooden soldiers attacking Fabletown. Willingham is so skilled at blending so many fabled elements into the story that it is difficult to take it all in the first time reading it. I really don’t have any criticisms and for having such a simple premise, the latest volume brings out a rich and imaginative world. I enjoyed reading about the wooden soldiers and their humorous, yet sociopathic attempts to annihilate the fables. The battle at the end was filled with strategy and tension as the fables find that bullets and even fire are not effective ammunition against the hard-wooded enemies.
Once again, Fables continues to raise the bar for quality in the comic world. This volume is highly recommended.