Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham

Rating: **** (4 out of 5)

Background: After reading (and being totally unimpressed by) the first volume of this series, I decided to give “Fables” another shot, simply because I wanted to understand why this is acclaimed widely as an amazing comics series. After the underwhelming first volume I was weary, but still hopeful. And, as it turns out, with good reason.

Review: Taking inspiration from Orwell’s Animal Farm, this volume follows the story as the non-human looking Fables, forced to live away from the eyes of the non-magical population, decide to rebel against their more human looking counterparts, who live in recluse in New York City. With a half-baked plan to overthrow their “oppressors” and then invade the lands that were taken from the Fables by “The Adversary”, characters like the Three Little Pigs, the Three Bears, Shere Khan and Baghera, led by Goldilocks, champion a revolution by overthrowing Weyland Smith, the mayor of the Farm, and enslaving him so they could force him to make weapons modified for use by the non-human Fables. Snow White and her sister, Rose Red, get caught up in this affair when they go visit the farm (Rose on community service because of the events in the last book) and Snow is forced to take matters into her hands, while her sister seems to fall in with the traitors.

The characters were all much more fleshed-out, staying true to their storybook originals, but still showing a twist (often very macabre) that made them interesting and unexpected. However, if you were annoyed by Rose Red on the first volume, be prepared – she is still an arrogant, spoiled brat, and Snow White’s naivety towards her is sometimes infuriating. The story is much better as well, and this time I found myself caring about what would happen next. The jokes were also funnier and didn’t feel forced at all, just part of the story and world.

All in all, a huge improvement over the last one (however, I still think it has the potential to get better). I will definitely keep reading this series.

What’s Next: I already have the next volume, though not the rest of the series, which is huge. I grow more and more satisfied with Vertigo, from all the comic books publishing houses it’s definitely the one whose titles interest me the most.

I’ve started reading Shame by Salman Rushdie, but I’m pretty certain it’s one of those books that will take me a while to finish. There’s something about the writing that’s totally alien to me (not necessarily a bad thing, just more time-consuming). Might try to read something smaller in the meantime…

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4 thoughts on “Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham

  1. Ana C. Nunes says:

    I also read the first volume and wasn’t particularly amased.
    Let’s see what happens when I reda the second. Maybe it will be just like your exerience.

  2. André Nóbrega says:

    Well, I had already decided to read Fables, and I had heard about the great difference between the first 2 volumes in the series so nothing really surprising there 🙂 I’m just happy that you liked, it makes me even more hopeful that I’ll like reading them to. It would be terrible to use a reference like Animal Farm and develop a lousy story, might get on my nerves.
    Oh and about those books that take a while to finish reading, I noticed today on my Goodreads account that I started reading The Grapes of Wrath 3 months ago and I’m not even half-way through, even though I am actually enjoying it more and more.

    • As long as you don’t expect anything groundbreaking (at least not yet) you should be fine with this story. It’s fun to spot the literary references and to see the twisted versions of characters you knew as a kid!

      About those long books, tell me about it! I’m so far behind on my reading goals this year, it’s kinda sad. Considering I had more free time than at any other year in my life, I can conclude that too much free time is bad for you. :p

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