alright. i've been reading this series since its inception, but recently re-read the entire thing to date (#1-118). some random, quick thoughts:
the mister dark stuff came off better reading it over the span of a few days, as opposed to 2+ years. i think my problem with the arc originally was that it just would not end; obviously, that wasn't the case the second time through .
do i think the series has suffered since war and pieces? ehhh... it's different. it lacks direction, i think. but i don't think it's bad. obviously, direction wasn't a problem from #1-75. but since the empire fell, it just seems like willingham is trying to figure out what story to tell, and is throwing a lot at us to see what sticks. the main cast was the focus for awhile, but suddenly we've gotten two straight storyarcs with the bigby cubs, and it's taken, like, a year in real time for the main cast to go from haven to the farm back to fabletown/castle dark. the pan ozian empire had entire issues devoted to it, then disappeared completely, then returned as a back-up. i'm not even sure what's going with rose red at the moment. and again i would stress that i'm still a fan of the series; it's just different.
the current toyland arc has been very good. creepy, even.
my favorite arc was, and remains, homelands.
willingham can build a lot of intrigue into a story, and he can certainly build the stakes, but between the empire falling (war and pieces), fly's invulnerability (the good prince), mr. north beating mister dark like a rented mule (wasn't mister dark built up to be THE ancient power in the universe?) and perhaps other's i'm merely forgetting at the moment, i often find myself dissatisfied with the conclusions to some of his biggest arcs. it all happens so easily for the fables at the end, despite what appeared to be insurmountable odds just an issue or two prior.
the great fables crossover was still pretty terrible.
for his next spinoff series, i would totally buy a comic devoted to life in the various worlds affected by the fallen empire. some of willingham's best stuff has come from one-or-two issue stories centered in the empire: rodney and june, dunster happ, the war council, the most recent one where that general was creating princes left and right in order to revive briar rose (and yes, i know briar rose's story continues in fairest; i'm only an issue into that series, though).