Welcome back for the second installment or our Graphic Content book club. A lot happened in the second in Fables Vol. 2 Animal Farm, so let’s get started. As with all Graphic Content entries, there will be spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the book.
The second chapter of the Fables story takes us upstate with Snow White, Rose Red, and Colin (one of the three little pigs). Snow and Rose have some issues they need to work out, and Snow’s annual visit to the Farm–where the non-human Fables live–is about due, so two birds, right? Wrong.
When the trio arrives at the farm, they find that the Farm Administrator has quit (read: been deposed) and the animals have had enough of being relegated to living at the farm. Their argument is that they’ve been prisoners for centuries and now it’s time to take over Fabletown and then make their move against the Adversary. Plus, it looks like Rose Red has joined the revolutionaries and is acting against her sister. Ulp.
But not all the farm animals are convinced this is the greatest idea, and remain loyal to Snow. Reynard the Fox steals away to warn Snow about the impending uprising, and the two attempt to warn the rest of the Fable community and quell the uprising.
And they do . . . until Goldilocks–a rabid revolutionary, and the would-be leader of the Fables–shoots Snow in the head. Thing is, she freaking survives, in part because the entire world believes in the “myth” of Snow White! We find out that with some help from the loyalists, Bluebeard, Charming, and Little Boy Blue gathered up all the offenders and Snow was rushed to the hospital. Turns out that since everyone keeps making movies and reading stories about her, she can’t die–although she is seriously, and perhaps permanently, injured.
The ringleaders are executed (the remaining little pigs) and other offenders are thrown in Fable jail. When Snow emerges from her coma and months of recovery, Rose visits her to talk about the fate of the Farm–turns out she only pretended to join the uprising to try to save Snow White’s life. However, she’s still upset at her sister, and finally spills: she’s mad because Snow left her to marry the prince, and because while the world still reveres Snow White, Rose Red has been relegated to the dusty corners of folklore. Her solution: to take over as administrator of the Farm–turns out, she’s damn good at it.
So, onto the questions:
What were your overall impressions of Fables Vol. 2 Animal Farm?
EF: I was really struck by how violent this tale was–Snow having to shoot Shere Khan, the graphic shooting of Snow, and the beheading of the pigs. The idea of these Fables living in “the real world” is one thing, but the gore and deep-running emotions kind of shook me. It wasn’t gratuitous–it was used really effectively–but it was still disturbing. We’re so used to the Disney-fied versions of these tales, but if you look back, the original fairytales were pretty gory. For example, at the end of Snow White, in some versions, the evil stepmother is forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she drops dead–and in some versions she’s actually Snow’s mother–so it’s fitting, I guess.
JC: I’ve been wanting to see more about the Farm ever since they hinted about it in the first issue. When you open it up to that two-page spread on what the layout of the Farm, it’s pretty much what you expect so see from a Fable Farm: a few castles, barn, a giant shoe, a pumpkin house, and what looks like a Smurf’s house.
How valid do you think the Farm Fables’ concerns were? Were they right to try to revolt?
EF: The thing is, they did have a point. The non-human Fables are confined to one space for centuries, because the other Fables are afraid of being found out. Plus, Snow did seem completely oblivious to their issues–like she’d never given it a second thought. It highlighted some serious problems with how Fabletown rules itself–even though they’re living in the modern world, they’re stuck in a monarchy, and the non-human Fables are thought of as serfs.
JC: I can see why the residents of the farm felt like second-class citizens, but Snow did say that 90% of Fabletown’s moneys go to running the Farm. That’s a huge disparity. That and they get to live the quiet life while the human Fables get to find dead-end jobs and pay taxes. In the end, I think they had legitimate grievances, but I don’t think a revolution was quite necessary.
Did Rose’s issues with her sister, Snow, ring true? What did you think of Rose’s idea of being the administrator for the Farm?
EF: It’s a common issue between siblings or best friends, I guess–feeling abandoned, dealing with sibling rivalry. Seeing Rose’s pain and anger over being forgotten and overlooked went a long way to explaining her heinous actions in the first Fables story arc. I thought making her administrator of the Farm was pretty pat, but it looked like she was going to be good at it, and that it would be good for her. Plus, the dragon-bird was frickin’ rad!
JC: Red really grew up in this arc. She took up with the revolutionaries to spare her sister’s life and took charge at the Farm while White was out of commission. It would be hard to be the kid sister of the most famous Fable, so I think the responsibility of the Farm (and the physical distance from her sister) will be good for their relationship.
Fables Vol. 2 Animal Farm has some obvious parallels to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Did Bill Willingham pull it off?
EF: Ah, of course the pigs are the instigators–again! I thought Willingham executed the more sophisticated elements of the plot well. The ideology and growing fanaticism of some of the revolutionaries (especially Goldilocks) was well done, and they ably showed the hypocrisy that was mixed in with their ideals. I don’t know if simply stopping the revolt and putting in a new administrator is the answer–especially since the members of the Farm disliked that they had a human administrator before, instead of someone from their community–but Snow’s calm, “Kill the barn” and the dragon incinerating it was pretty badass!
JC: Agreed. Goldilocks freaking lost it. The revolutionaries are going to need the help of all Fables if they ever have a hope at reclaiming their lands. It seems that their intent to overthrow Fabletown was a bit myopic and would ultimately endanger every Fable in the process. It seems like their goals of equality quickly spun out of control and the leaders of the revolution only hungered for power at the end.
So, what did you think about Animal Farm? Let us know what you thought, and we’ll send you a special coupon code or gift certificate!