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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #3 (DC/Vertigo)

My pick for book of the week for January 6, 2010, and . . . taa-daa! . . . KARA'S FIRST REVIEW!! . . . is Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #3, from DC/Vertigo, written by Chris Roberson, drawn by Shawn McManus, and with cover by Chrissie Zullo.

If you're like me, you've obviously been reading the excellent Fables by Bill Willingham from the very beginning (also from DC/Vertigo), in which we find out that all the stories that we've ever read or heard are true. Like the Three Little Pigs, Hansel & Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood. All of the characters from those stories lived in a place called ``The Homelands``. And at sometime in the past an evil dictator, ``The Adversary``, conquered the world, and many of the story characters, called ``Fables``, escaped to our ``Mundy`` world (``Mundy`` being short for mundane, of course.

I won`t give away any details from Fables for those who haven`t read it--shame on you--but to tie things together, what you need to know is that one of the characters to cross over into our world was Cinderella, her of the glass slippers. Having long since divorced her cheating husband Prince Charming, she is now a secret agent, ala James Bond. Trained by the Big Bad Wolf and working for the Beast--you know, the guy married to Beauty?--who is the sheriff of ``Fabletown``, where the ``Fables`` live. In her new capacity, ``Cindy`` travels the world righting wrongs with her license to kill.

So, that brings us to the New Adventures of Cinderella! To begin, I`ve sort of exaggerated. Fables is a good title, that used to be a GREAT title. It started to coast a little over the last little while, starting right around that time when it was split into the main title and the first spin-off, Jack of Fables (which actually became the better of the two titles). Fables has been on an upswing since a ``crossover event`` between it, the ``Jack`` title, and a new Literals spin-off miniseries. But even so, it appeared that Cindy was just going to further water down the original concept. I didn`t have extremely high hopes picking up Cinderella #1.

Was I sadly mistaken!

Cindy reads like a combination of James Bond and Austin Powers, with the action, sex appeal, and intrigue of the first; the humor of the second before it jumped the shark; and a far better wardrobe. It is difficult to review Issue #3 as a single issue, since it is 3 of a 6 issue series that tells a fairly tight story, but, suffice to say, Cindy has been assigned a task to find an arms dealer, and has to track that dealer around the world with the Fables typical . . . unique . . . methods. In the attempt, we see Cindy`s cover identity as a shoe store owner (☺), along with the store manager, Crispin, and Cindy`s Arabian counterpart Aladdin (you know, the guy with the lamp?).

Issue #3 is where many of the plotlines seem to start coming together, perhaps a little more quickly than one would expect . . . of course, this probably just means that there is another twist coming. Gladly, Chris Roberson`s Cindy is one of the strongest female characters in comics, without question. Her handling of both her task & the ``cadish`` Aladdin is both humorous & true, even if the latter is a little over the top.

The Crispin subplot doesn`t carry the same weight as the main storyline, but with this issue it seems to be coming together. It really just seems to be included for no other reason than to give us intermittent breaks, which is fine, if somewhat tedious.

The Shawn McManus artwork, while not initially my cup of tea, has been growing on me with each passing issue. The storytelling is undeniable, but the style took some adjustment. However, I think that I may love it by the time that all is said and done. It suits the ``fable`` style perfectly, with just a modern hint to it.

The coloring and lettering (by Lee Loughridge and Todd Klein, respectively) are a welcome addition, and I wouldn`t trade them for any alternatives.

And this review could not be complete without mention of Chrissie Zullo`s covers: an absolute treat in the vein of the Fables` James Jean covers, the hidden ``shoe`` (☺) logo on each one has made them more fun than a ``Where`s Waldo`` book!

All in all Cindy has been a fun ride that I intend to see through to the end, and hope to continue past the end of the mini . . . in honor of the book`s heroine . . .

RATING: 8.5 mary-janes out of 10

I would also like to point out this week`s honorable mention, Wonder Woman Blackest Night #2 (DC): the splash page near the end is easily worth the price of admission, and may be the one lasting impact of the Blackest Night series (and, no, I don`t mean Diana`s new costume!).

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Kara! Great first review! I'll finish up that new background as soon as I can, although I think your site looks pretty good as is!