Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham
Ever since they were driven from their homelands by the Adversary, the non-human Fables have been living on the Farm—a vast property in upstate New York that keeps them hidden from the prying eyes of the mundane world. But now, after hundreds of years of isolation, the Farm is seething with revolution, fanned by the inflammatory rhetoric of Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs. And when Snow White and her sister Rose Red stumble upon their plan to liberate the Homelands, the commissars of the Farm are ready to silence them—by any means necessary.
Following on from my review of Legends in Exile earlier today, I have finished the second installment which focuses on the lives of the fabled characters who cannot pass as human, and live in New York like the others. They are confined to a farm on the outskirts of the city and are urged never to leave it lest they draw attention to the existence of the Fables. Needless to say, confinement does not go down well, and a riot ensues.
As the title suggests, the story has an incredibly Orwellian ring to it, with the oppressed 'animals' (or giants, dragons, and a plethora of queer little creatures I couldn't quite identify) rebelling against their human counterparts in the city.
I'm not sure whether I enjoyed this one more than its predecessor. There was certainly much more gore than in the first volume, which is always a plus where I'm concerned. However, I felt as though the story was taking a different turn to how the first installment implied things would be. There was no hint that there were ever problems at the farm, and it was to my understanding that the next part of the story would delve even deeper into character history, the upheaval of the homelands, and most importantly reveal the identity of the adversary. Willingham instead turned the Fable folks against one another, allowed them to execute one another, and created an uneasy tone. Where the Fables should be fighting against the adversary, they were now fighting against one another. I didn't like it.
The graphics I found to be incredible again, although I realise I am a total novice in this genre. The gore was delicious, and I loved scrutinising the panels and examining some of the non-human Fables; some of them looked so odd it was almost frightening.
Although I enjoyed this, and I will be looking to pick up another graphic novel in future, there was something missing for me and I think it was character history and/or character development. No relationships were developed, some of the characters I was interested in from the previous volume didn't appear or weren't looked at in depth, and I wanted to hear more history of the non-human Fables. Willingham almost treated them the same as the human Fables did, and left them out entirely which was disappointing.
Despite the above, I am looking forward to the next installment, if I can get my hands on it. I am hungry to hear of what happens to the Fables, and I want to see their attempts at overcoming the adversary. I would definitely recommend this to graphic novel beginners, as I really appreciated the art, although I think I my love of literature has made me too plot-critical.