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Fables vol 2: Animal Farm

Fables vol 2: Animal Farm back

Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham


Page 45 Review by Stephen

As is my wont I'd written this review before reading the book. Now I find it has merits and I have to rewrite the bugger, omitting several gags which I'd deluded myself were hysterical. This is a vast improvement on the first volume, with some clever ideas and a funny, winged monkey.

The story so far: the inhabitants of various fairytale worlds have been beaten out of their realms by The Adversary, and for well over a century they've been lurking amongst us in New York City. At least, the less conspicuous creatures have. The Kipling animals along with assorted pigs, Uncle Remus characters, three snoozing giants and a dragon have been holed up in an upstate community overseen by Weyland Smith. But when Snow White and her estranged sister Rose Red visit the farm they find it in revolutionary spirit. The population resents being restricted to a few thousand acres, they resent their "jailor" being human-looking, and they resent the freedom enjoyed by the others. Although hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, the animals want to take the fight back to the Adversary. And now that Snow White knows this, she can't be allowed to leave.

Even reading that back it all sounds too twee, but as I said, the mechanics are better thought through, and I liked the idea behind Rose Red's own antipathy and how it relates to Snow White's current immortality. Plus, you have Bucky on art. He provides some gorgeous animal sketches in the back, as well as some solid interpretations of the anthropomorphic characters in which I detect a certain homage to Jack Kirby and his High Evolutionary set-up. What still jars with me is the Dreaded Dialogue Of Exposition. We tried it ourselves on the shop floor this morning:

"We talk like this all the time, don't we, Mark?"
"Yes, we do, Stephen."
"Does it sound natural to you, Mark Simpson?"
"Yes, it does, Stephen L. Holland who has been my business partner for eight-and-a-half years at Page 45 on Market Street right in the city centre of Nottingham."
"Mark, I'm so pleased that you think so, because I was writing a review on this very topic for the Page 45 Mailshot which has been going out monthly for over five years."
"I know. I invented it."

Try it amongst yourselves, out loud, with some mates in a pub. It's actually quite entertaining.
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