Countdown to Fables #100: War and Pieces

Welcome to today’s entry to the Countdown to Fables #100, where on Tuesday and Friday I recap a story told within the pages of Fables.  This will happen up until issue #100 is released on November 24th.  If you’re new to the countdown, an archive of all previous entries can be found under our Special Features menu.  Today’s story is titled “War and Pieces.”  In this story, the war between Fabletown and the Adversary is fought to the end.  The identity of the Adversary does appear in the recap, which is after the break.

War and Pieces
Issues #73-75
Art by Mark Buckingham

The war has begun, and Boy Blue is using the Witching Cloak to transport messages to each of the stations.  He begins on a flying ship called Glory of Baghdad.  It flies with the use of flying carpets built into the hull.  On the ship are Prince Charming and Sinbad.  While Blue is there, a lone dragon approaches them, but it is easily taken out by a sniper.  Blue’s next stop is Fort Bravo, where Bigby is leading things.  Bigby is building a concealed fort her, and planting a beanstalk.  He tells his troops that this is the last line of defense.  The beanstalk is the only exit for anyone out of the Homelands, so they have to hold that land.  In the Imperial City, the Emperor and the Snow Queen discuss what has been going on with the flying ship.  They decide to send all but one dragon to the flying ship to overwhelm it with sheer force.  In a different part of the Imperial City, Boy Blue meets with Briar Rose and Hakim.  Her mission is to prick her finger at the correct time, or after being discovered, to put the bureaucracy of the Empire to sleep.  Back on the Glory of Baghdad, they have reached the cite of their first bombing mission.  They are seeking to take out 28 gates.  Unable to buy any bunker busters, they’ve created a substitute, guided by a magic carpet and a pilot that can be pulled back to the ship.  After much practice, their delivery system is successful and they have a successful drop.  Blue stops by a secretive fortified Fabletown to pick up and deliver messages to Beast before heading up to The Farm.  The Farm is more blatantly fortified because they can afford to be.  Blue picks up Rose Red and takes her to Wolf Manor.  Wolf Manor is the nerve center for the war effort, with all of the logistics being run by Snow White.  She gives Blue some new information and sends him on his way.  Back on the airship, they have just completed their thirteenth bombing mission, the swarm of dragons have found them.  At that same time, a group of Imperial soldiers discover Fort Bravo.

In his cottage, Geppetto is still depressed at the loss of all of his children, the wooden soldiers Flycatcher defeated.  At the Glory of Baghdad, they employed a “metal storm” defense against the swarm of dragons, meaning they fired every weapon as fast and as long as they could.  Blue was making constant runs to restore their ammo from the depot set up in the Arabian Fablelands.  After a long battle, all of the dragons were slain.  Boy Blue returns to Wolf Manor, where Snow took him upstairs to show him Pinocchio, Rodney, and June.  Pinocchio can’t tell him how he escaped because it’s classified, but they do greet and Pinocchio hands over a location of one last gate, and says there’s been a change in the battle plans that needs to be implemented now.  In the Imperial City, the Emperor and Snow Queen are discussing why they are losing the war, but the Emperor does say that he has set a trap for the airship using the final dragon he held back.  Elsewhere in the city, Blue tells Briar Rose that now is the time to prick her finger.  Hakim and Mrs. Someone, a 13th floor witch, decide to stay with Rose to remain guarding her for as long as they can.  So Blue leaves and Rose pricks her finger.  Blue notes to himself that Frau Totenkinder modified the curse so that it would encompass the entire city, so efficiently that it’s as if she had created the curse.  The Snow Queen is put to sleep, and even though the Emperor does not go to sleep, the thorns end up trapping him.

Noticing that a large army was amassing near Fort Bravo, Prince Charming and Sinbad told Blue that once they finished their one final bombing mission, they would come and bomb the Imperial army.  Shortly after Blue left, they flew over the trap the Emperor had set for them.  The final dragon was concealed, and when the skyship predictably flew over its position, it rose up from under them, and burned the ship before anyone on board could do anything to combat it.  The Prince and Sinbad made it out together, but the Prince was badly burned after lingering to try to steer the ship towards water.  He wanted to retrieve the last bomb to finish their mission.  In the Imperial City, the Emperor breaks free of the thorns, and finally learns the location of Fort Bravo.  He decides to go their himself, and orders his messenger sprites to gather all of the forces that they can to the location.

Outside of Fort Bravo, an Imperial general pulled out the Arrow of Dire Fate, who’s power was to deliver a mortal wound to the person the archer wanted to hit.  The shot was fired at Bigby, but Boy Blue tried to block it with the Witching Cloak.  It didn’t work, and the arrow went through Blue’s arm, and nicked Bigby.  Both men were out for days.  During this time, the Emperor led charge after charge.  Each time, the Fables were able to use their firepower to repel them, but they suffered great casualties.  During this time, Prince Charming was using a few magic carpets to drag the last bomb to the final gate, while Sinbad fought off anyone they ran into.  Upon reaching the gate, both men enter, with Prince not sure if he’ll be able to set the bomb and get away fast enough.  After a few days, Bigby and Boy Blue wake up.  Blue still has part of the arrow shaft in his arm because the doctor didn’t think he should remove it himself due to its magical nature.  Boy Blue leaves to resupply Fort Bravo.  Bigby is informed that they’ve lost half of their forces, and they don’t have any magic powerful enough to actually attack the Emperor.  Bigby decides that he’s magical enough, and duels the Emperor.  But even in his wolf form, Bigby is not able to stop the Emperor.  We see that the final gate has been destroyed, but the fate of Prince Charming and Sinbad is unknown.  Back at Fort Bravo, Bigby changes strategy and forms and does what the Mouse Police did during the Battle for Fabletown, use a tool to dismantle parts of the Emperor.  When the Emperor falls, they put all of their firepower into him, but that doesn’t stop him.  Boy Blue teleports in with the Vorpal Sword, and again beheads the Emperor, ending the war.

The days following the final battle, survivors were found, including a near dead Sinbad, who gave word that Prince Charming had died in the explosion at the last gate.  Dr. Swineheart removed the arrow shaft from Boy Blue’s arm during a 6 hour procedure.  Days later, Boy Blue, Bigby, and Pinocchio went to Geppetto’s cottage and brought him back to Fabletown.  There, surrounded by all of the high-ranking members of Fabletown, Geppetto the Adversary signed the Fabletown Compact.

Well, the war with the Adversary has finally ended in issue #75.  I found it fitting that Boy Blue got the final blow in the fight.  At the beginning of the story, his inner monologue had made reference to all of the battles he had lost before, as seen in The Last Castle.  As there’s another month to go in the countdown, you know that the stories don’t end with the end of the war.  There is still the issue of what to do with all of the Homelands now that the Geppetto is no longer in power.  We also have the issue of Briar Rose still being asleep in the Imperial City.  And oh yeah, Geppetto is now living with the Fables.

Up next, Around the Town

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