Friday, January 02, 2009

Review: Fables #11: War and Pieces

Title: Fables #11: War and Pieces
Author: Bill Willingham
Illustrators: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Andrew Pepoy
Genre: Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Published: 19 November 2008
Collects Issues: 70 - 75
Pages: 177
Rating: 9 / 10
Challenges: Graphic Novels Challenge, Winter Reading Challenge, Sci-Fi Experience, A to Z Reading Challenge
Awards: Fables has won 14 Eisner Awards so far

Synopsis (from the back cover):
Fables Attack! The final battle between the free Fables of the mundane world and the Empire occupying their former Homelands is about to begin, and the scrappy storybook heroes have already managed to even the odds considerably. With his previously unstoppable wooden soldiers neutralized, the Adversary is about to get his first taste of high technology in the form of steel-jacketed bullets and laser-guided bombs. But the ruler who conquered a hundred different worlds didn't do it by fighting clean - and he's still got a surprise or two left to spring on the residents of Fabletown

My review: This was the first book I read in 2009, and I don't think I could have made a better choice. In War and Pieces, the war against the Adversary reaches it conclusion, and I found it very satisfying. The story starts out with Cinderella's clandestine mission to get the upper hand on the Empire; watching Cindy in super-spy mode made me wish she had her own spin-off. It would be just like Alias! And seeing Beauty's confused/enraged reaction to Cindy getting her own mission ("SHE-ONLY-SELLS-SHOES!") is priceless.

The war itself is told through Blue's perspective, and I really felt sympathy for him in this book. He's melancholy because he's been rejected by Rose Red (he has the worst luck with women!) and because being in the war reminds him of the past. He's a key figure, though, because he's able to use the Witching Cloak to keep the front lines supplied and to keep all the bases up-to-date. There's also a scene towards the end that had echoes of Blue-as-Neville in the final Harry Potter book, which made me love him even more.

There's so much to enjoy in this book. The conclusion of the "War with the Empire" story arc, of course, but also the return of some characters and plot points we hadn't seen in a while (Briar Rose turns out to be pretty important, and the zephyrs and magic beanstalk also have parts to play in the war). Prince Charming actually turns out okay in the end, which was pretty amazing. Flycatcher is mentioned but never seen, but after giving him his own story arc I guess that's forgivable.

I highly recommend this book to everyone - Fables is one of my favorite comic books, and this is a an impressive end to a long-running storyline. I'm glad the creators opted not to finish the Fables series with the end of the war, because I love the world they've created and I'm looking forward to more.

Other reviews:

If you've reviewed this book as well, leave a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.


Alea said...

Do you ever visit the site of the guy that does/did the some of the covers for Fables? It's really cool when he shows his process!

Here's one:

jessi said...

That is pretty neat! It's always interesting to see how the masters do their thing. I'm a big fan of Jill Thompson, and she sometimes posts her works-in-progress on her blog.

Alea said...

Oh cool! I'll definitely have to bookmark that link!

Vasilly said...

The work of James Jean is so beautiful! One of my 101 things is to buy two of his pieces.

I can't read your post because I'm still on Fables #6! I'm waiting for my library to get the rest of the series. The second I read Fables #11, I'm coming back to read your review!

Ana S. said...

I couldn't read most of your review for the same reasons as Vasily, but now I actually own Fables 7-10! I just need time to read them, and then I'll get to this. Can't wait.

Fyrefly said...

Count me as another who's not reading the whole review - I'm second in line for this at the library, but I can't wait!

Fyrefly said...

Okay, I just finished it (my review'll go up in a few days), and I enjoyed it but wasn't blown away... a bit too much action and not enough time with the characters for my tastes. I did absolutely love Beauty's reactions during that whole scene, though. :)