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Graphic Novels Reviews

Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love

[Three stars]
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Shawn McManus
Publisher: DC/Vertigo

Rolling Stone IN Aug 10, 2010

How do you dilute a brand? You take an example from the ongoing series Fables. Originally intended to be a closed set of story-arcs reinterpreting fairy tale characters in the modern world, it has become a franchise that seems to do little but churn out spin-offs and prequels in different forms ”“ a companion series called Jack of Fables, a prose novel (with more in the pipeline), and short miniseries starring pivotal characters from the main story. Cinderella stars our familiar fairy-tale stepsister-turned-princess as a spy who travels across the world protecting the Mundies (mundane people, that’s us) from shenanigans involving magic and witchcraft. Sure, she’s hot, smart and very proficient in hand-to-hand combat. And she’s got Aladdin ”“ the Arabian Nights version, not the Disney hero, in case you’re wondering ”“ to give her company. But the good news ends there.

All of this, of course, is written in the kind of flat narrative structure that a comic book miniseries demands nowadays, coupled with every cliché one could borrow from bad spy movies ”“ a cliffhanger ending at the end of every episode, first person narrative, an overuse of gadgets and deus ex machina characters. By the time the story limps to its epic finale ”“ an ending that was touted as one that would reveal the fate of one very important fairytale character ”“ you would be hard-pressed to not throw the book aside and go take a nap. Or re-read the Grimm Brothers.  As far as I can see, the only good thing about this series is the covers by artist Chrissie Zullo. They are fun and whimsical, and they might entertain you for a bit after you wake up from your nap.

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