Fables: Legends in Exile
Fables: Animal Farm - Bill Willingham

These are the first two in a series of graphic novels about the Fables, a community of fairy tale people living in New York City. The story goes like this: long ago, an enemy known as the Adversary took over the fairy tale lands with his armies, slaughtering those who couldn't escape. A great deal of the escapees manage to find a way into our world, and settle in New Amsterdam (yes, they've bee here a while).

The first book centers on a murder mystery—Rose Red has gone missing, her apartment ransacked and covered in blood. Bigby Wolf (now disguised as a human) is Fabletown's chief detective, and seems to suspect everyone, including Rose's more-famous sister, Snow White (now deputy-mayor of Fabletown). The second takes place on the Farm, a property in upstate New York where all the non-human Fables (e.g. the three little pigs) dwell, but not all happily. A revolution is in the works, with dire consequences.

The concept, while not entirely original, has definite possibilities, and the books were a fun read. However, I can't help but feel that the whole thing would have been done much better by Neil Gaiman, with all the literary references in his Sandman series. He has the ability to bring characters from old stories to life; Willingham's Fables are a little flat. The only difference between some of them and the "Mundy" New Yorkers is their eternal youth, it seems.

Fed to jonathan's brain | April 11, 2004