Bill Willingham (author), and Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko
Henrichon,  Andrew Pepoy (artists), Fables: War and Pieces (Vertigo, 2008)

"And that, my friends, is how the great war ended. Not with a bang, but with a wienie roast."
--p. 169

GMR previously reviewed the final issue collected in this eleventh volume of Bill Willingham's stellar series Fables, and now it's time to put that issue into context. The six issues in this volume (70-75) wrap up the storyline that's been building through the entire run of Fables: the impending showdown between the free Fables and the forces of the Adversary.

In fact, it's all out war in this arc, as the Fables take the battle to the Homelands. Some Fables get to be heroic, others have small but key parts to play and some must pay the ultimate sacrifice. It'd be cheating to say who doesn't make it out of the battle alive (be sure to go back and look at the lovely cover to issue 75 after finishing the volume; there's a hint there), so let's just say that it's nice to see Sinbad, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in action (You really don't want to cross Cinderella. Really.)  and that Willingham's use of the latter is truly quite inspired. The Homelands' Emperor also gets into the action for the first time. He's quite the fearsome -- and egotistical -- foe! Much of the action is seen through the eyes of Boy Blue, who, despite a crushing emotional disappointment at the beginning of the volume and an unfortunate wound later, uses his magic cloak to play courier and one man supply chain for the Fables' efforts.

As always, Willingham's writing and attention to detail are top-notch -- and so too the art. As a special bonus, there's a black and white gallery of designs and sketches by Mark Buckingham, and a gallery of rather amusing guest art.

Even though the war may be over, the Fables' story isn't finished. Boy Blue drops hints that something unexpected still awaits (plus, Willingham says in his Afterword that there's still a long road ahead for the series), which should bring much rejoicing from fans.

[April Gutierrez]

Bill Willingham's Web page is here.