Graphic Novel Review: Fables, Vol 2 – Animal Farm

by Bill Willingham, and artists Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, James Jean
Publisher: Vertigo
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile Review

What to do when you are driven out of your homelands, and a section of your society cannot hide among the humans? Well, in Fables, the answer is simple: put them on an upstate farm, keeping them hidden from the mundane world. After too long a period of silence from the farm, Snow White takes her sister, Rose Red, to investigate, and they stumble upon a revolution in progress, headed up by Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs. And they’ll do anything to keep the sisters quiet.

Volume 2 takes us through the bloody aspects of a revolution, as the non-human fables work on a way to take their lands back or, failing that, take the city instead. My biggest complaint with this volume is how simplistic it comes across – revolutionaries bad, status quo good. Although it does sort of address that later on, and Rose Red especially comes across as fairly sympathetic to what they’re fighting for, even if they’re going about it in the wrong way.

It’s not hard to see why Fables usually comes so highly recommended. It really does put this familiar, well-known characters in a new light, showing the very real issues they’re contending with, alongside the problems that arise from their fairy tale status. As Rose Red says to Snow, she is a character often forgotten, pushed to the side-lines, while people forget Snow White had a sister.

There’s a good mix, too, of folklore and other characters, and here we see Kipling’s The Jungle Book animals, Shere Khan giving chase to Snow (Once Upon a Time would never have dared). It doesn’t shy away from my brutal scenes, or some dark implications, and makes it clear these particular fairy tales aren’t for kids.

Animal Farm definitely widens the scope for what we’re seeing, and adds another element to the difficulties these characters face. It works really well, and I’m eager to see what volume 3 has in store.

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