Home > Vertigo > Fables #24

Fables #24

April 17, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: The Letter (March of the Wooden Soldiers Chapter Five)

The Wooden Soldiers do a number on Blue Boy and an announcement threatens to bring Fabletown to its knees!

Writer: Bill Willingham
Pencils: Mark Buckingham
Inks: Steve Leialoha
Colors: Daniel Vozzo
Letters: Todd Klein
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: James Jean
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Well, last issue brought some good news and bad news for poor Blue Boy. The good news is his long-lost love Red Riding Hood is not a traitor. The bad news is that the girl he hooked up with isn’t Red at all, but an imposter working for the Adversary. This issue all hell breaks loose on the farm Fabletown, Bigby Wolf takes his investigation of the traitor up north, and the impostor issues an ultimatum to the Fables that threatens to shatter the world they have built for themselves.

Month in and month out, this is one of the best comic books on the racks. Bill Willingham has crafted an incredible fantasy mystery with tons of adventure to go along with it. Reading Fables is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and never knowing for sure if you’ve got all the pieces or not. Little things come to the forefront this issue, such as a sudden focus on one of my favorite underutilized characters and the truth about the Wooden Soldiers (which, I don’t mind telling you, had me slapping my forehead at how stupid I was for not figuring that out).

Willingham has promised the fans that, as of this issue, readers should have all the clues they need to determine the true identity of the Adversary. While I’ve got a couple of suspicions, I’m still in the dark, and it’s knowledge like that which will have me re-reading all 24 issues and the Last Castle one-shot looking for clues as soon as I can. Any comic book that inspires not only repeat readings, but bulk repeat readings, is as close to a masterpiece as you can get.

Mark Buckingham continues to rule with his artwork, with inventive page layouts and incredible fantasy creatures, such as Baba Yaga’s living, chicken-legged house. A scene with Bigby shifting into his wolf-form was very well done in both these respects, and he keeps drawing great, distinctive characters. (ARGH! The character with the clue to the Wooden Soldiers even looks like them, how did I not see that coming?) James Jean contributes a great cover that really sums up the mood this issue leaves you with.

It’s incredible – a comic book about Snow White, Cinderella and the Big Bad Wolf is the smartest title coming out from either of the big two. This is a comic that demands you think – it’s the best mystery I have ever read in sequential art, and I don’t want it to end anytime soon.

Rating: 9/10

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