Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha
Bill Willingham is doing things on this title that make it deserving of far more attention than it currently receives, as I don't think there's another title currently on the stands that has shown such a willingness to offer up such a steady stream of status quo shattering moments on a regular basis.
I mean, I realize that this is the climatic finish to the latest arc but there are a number of truly shocking deaths in this issue that left me physically stunned but one has to love the ease at which this issue manages to up the stakes against our heroes, so that their ability to walk away from this fight as the victors is in serious jeopardy right up until the final moments.
This issue also manages to nicely address the obvious questions that I'm sure were lingering in the minds of most readers, like why didn't the Fables simply set this army of wooden soldiers ablaze? or how could the Fable wage a full scale war in the middle of the city and still keep their existence a secret from the outside world?
In fact, the most enjoyable thing about this issue is that it does such an effective job of laying out what could've been a highly chaotic exchange, as there wasn't a single moment where I found myself confused by the actions that were being carried out by either side.
The issue also does a nice job of generating a very real sense of overwhelming danger, as up until the arrival of the solution to the seemingly unstoppable army of wooden soldiers, I was utterly convinced we were watching the downfall of the Fables. Toss in several shocking deaths of major characters and I can't recommend this title strong enough.
This is about as good as a comic can get.
Mark Buckingham's work on this issue should quell any doubts that he's the ideal artist for this series, as while he's already proven a highly effective artist when it comes to merging the fantasy elements with the real world environment of this title and this issue acts as a powerful display of his ability to deliver the large-scale action.
There are several jaw-dropping visuals in this issue, from the double-page spread where the heavy-hitters enter the battle, to the scene where Bigby Wolf makes his arrival. The death scenes also manage to pack the proper impact, as the death of the Rhino is a haunting visual.
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