Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fables: Animal Farm

Cover by James Jean
Fables: Animal Farm (2003)
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Daniel Vozzo
Letterer: Todd Klein

So I took the dive and read the second issue of the Fables series. Directly following the first issue, Legends in Exile, Animal Farm has an entirely different feel and theme. After establishing the central characters and history, Animal Farm delves much more into the politics of the Fabletown community.

Snow White, the deputy mayor of Fabletown, brings her estranged sister, Rose Red, along for an annual business trip to the Farm, the upstate New York community where folklore characters that can’t pass (ie. the Little Pigs, Shere Khan, the Three Bears etc) in normal society live. It quickly becomes evident that there is major unrest among the Farm’s residents, sowed in particular by the Three Little Pigs, in a not-so-subtle nod to the issue’s namesake.

A revolution is brewing, weapons are converted, Goldilocks raises a call to arms, a pig is slaughtered and Snow White barely escapes with her life. There was quite a lot of action to take in.
Overall, the story of this issue was definitely stronger than the first one, though it wasn’t anything “new” per se. Maybe because Willingham was so blatantly winking at the reader with his Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies references, I just felt like I was reading another re-tread of the central themes of these works.

Look, comics love stories of revolutions and corrupt governments and civil unrest (Alan Moore, I’m looking at you… unfortunately). I’m not blaming Willingham for giving me his own version of this motif. It almost seems required for a comic writer to play around with this, and using folklore characters is a pretty new method. Nothing special but nothing weak either.

I also probably just enjoyed reading this issue more because I was now familiar with these characters and their relationships with one another. The art is still shrug-worthy but the cover and chapter art is always beautiful. Still going to stick with this series and see where it goes.

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