After the tongue-in-cheek mystery that was Fables: Legends in Exile, I started reading the second volume, Animal Farm.
And it's about "Animal Farm" - the Farm where the non-human Fables live and is nominally overseen by Fable Town mayor Old King Cole but is actually self-administered. When communication falls through (no one has seen or heard from the caretaker Weyland Smith), Snow White and Rose Red, still serving her community service sentence for faking her death as part of a moneymaking scheme or something, drive up to the Farm to check things out. (Note: Bigby is forbidden to visit the Farm due to the whole "3 Little Pigs" incident.) When the sisters arrive, they interrupt an odd meeting run by the pigs. Come to find out, the Farm is beginning to feel like a prison, no matter how nice and comfortable it might appear to be, and revolution is brewing led by Goldilocks. When Goldie's plans are discovered Snow goes on the run while Red appears to join the rebels.
Willingham throws in so many cameos by famous non-human book and fable characters: Shere Khan and Bagheera from Jungle Book, the Three Bears (Goldie is married to Baby Bear), many animals from Aesop's fables including Reynard the Fox. There were a few panels where I just didn't know where to look. There were so many characters present.
The ending was such a shocker -
STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT A SPOILER
- when Goldie shot Snow in the head I thought the series was really taking a left turn. It did a bit but the exchanges between Snow, Bigby, and Red while she recovered illustrated why Snow didn't die. Snow White is a popular fairy tale, helped out by Disney, and the power of the mundy's belief and knowledge kept her alive. As Red points out, if Goldie had shot her she would have likely died because her story is now obscure. Sad.
I appreciated the more serious tone in this volume and look forward to reading more.