Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers Volume 4 by Bill Willingham

Title: Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers Volume 4

Author:  Bill Willingham

Artists:  Craig Hamilton, P. Craig Russell and Mark Buckingham

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure

Year Published: 2004

Year Read: 2012

Series: Fables #4

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Strong Language and Gory Violence)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository

Brief Introduction:

After reading the third volume in Bill Willingham’s popular graphic novel series, “Storybook Love,” I was interested in seeing more of the many adventures of the “Fables” characters!  “Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers” is probably the most intense volume I had read so far in the “Fables” series as it deals with the Fables characters being engaged in war!  Anyone who is a fan of the “Fables” series will definitely want to check this volume out!

What is the story?

The story starts out as a refugee had escaped from the Adversary’s oppression, which happens to be Red Riding Hood herself!  But when she reveals her tragic tale to the Fables community, some Fables like Bigby Wolf, suspects that there is something fishy about Red Riding Hood’s tale.  Bigby Wolf and Snow White have to find out if Red Riding Hood is who she says she is or else, something tragic will happen to Fabletown!

What I loved about this comic:

Bill Willingham’s writing!:  I honestly think that Bill Willingham’s writing was definitely exciting and intense in this novel as the Fables characters are experiencing the terrible forces of the Adversary!  I loved the way that Bill Willingham provided a prologue story called “The Last Castle” that actually explains about how the fables escaped from the Adversary and Little Boy Blue’s romance with Red Riding Hood since the story was truly unique and intense at the same time.  I also loved the intensity that Bill Willingham put into the story “March of the Wooden Soldiers” as the theme of war is explored and all the characters are truly affected.  Even though I usually do not like reading about wars in novels, I did wonder about how fairy tale characters would have to get involved in war and this idea did interest me as I read it.  I was also shocked at the ending of this volume as there were so many twists to the plot line that I never would have figure out in the beginning of this novel!

The artwork:  Just like the third volume “Storybook Love,” I loved the different artists working on each story (although in this case, there were only three artists working on this volume which were Craig Hamilton, P. Craig Russell and Mark Buckingham).  I loved the artwork that Craig Hamilton and P. Craig Russell did for the story “The Last Castle” as it provided so much creativity to the story.  I loved how P. Craig Russell did the artwork for the moments between Snow White and Little Boy Blue as Boy Blue is telling his story about how he escaped the Adversary as the artwork looks dark yet slightly detailed and I loved the way that the characters’ eyes actually shone in the artwork.  I also loved the way that Craig Hamilton did the illustrations for the flashback sequence in which Little Boy Blue was working for Colonel Bearskin as the artwork looks bright and colorful and I loved the medieval influence of the artwork as the characters wear medieval clothing to represent the time period that Little Boy Blue tells his story.  Mark Buckingham has done an excellent job with the artwork in the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” storyline as the artwork looks extremely dramatic, especially during the war scenes.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:

For anyone who does not like gory violence and strong language, this volume has plenty of both.  There is some bloody and graphic violence in “The Last Castle” and “March of the Wooden Soldiers” as characters is killed off in a gory fashion (characters are slashed open or stabbed to death).  Also, just like the previous three volumes, there is strong language involved which includes the “s” word and the “f” word, so people who are uncomfortable with reading such words might want to skim over these words.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the “Fables” series is really picking up the pace in these volumes and “Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers” is definitely one volume that is worth a shot to read through!

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