Friday, March 04, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Cinderella – From Fabletown with Love

Take the subversive Fables story where the fairytales you grew up with live among us here in the real world and often have very different lives outside those stories you grew up with and mix in a different genre, in this case the spy/James Bond type story, and you’ve got a sense of what to expect with Cinderella’s latest book. And this is exactly the kind of book this fan, who has somewhat fallen off the Fables wagon, was looking for. Cinderella isn’t exactly what she seems to be, in fact she’s almost playing the role of a normal comic book superhero. She poses as the owner of a shoe shop in Fabletown (a hidden block in New York City where the Fables live right under our noses), a high brow divorcee socialite who barely has time to stop into her store to see how things are going for her shopkeeper before moving on to her next high fashion event. But in reality, she goes to all of these events wearing that persona as a disguise – in reality she’s a highly trained spy, doing work for the Fabletown government across the world, helping to preserve their secret from anyone who might seek to harm them. Like any good Bond adventure, the book starts with Cinderella finishing up her prior mission, and then trying to unwind afterwards, only to find herself on a new important quest – with the end of the Fables war with their Adversary in their Homelands, magical artifacts from their world have started to crossover into the real world. These are often very dangerous objects, like Genie lamps, and would not only expose their secret but could do incalculable damage to the world itself. So Cinderella finds herself at the source of the inflow – Dubai, on a whorl-wind adventure that will see her entering an abandoned oil rig “Solid Snake” style (for those who know the Metal Gear videogame series) and finally at a forgotten land where these magical items are originating from – and an unexpected mastermind behind the entire scheme. She’ll also team up with Aladin (who works as a spy for the Arabian Fable community and is tracking down the same source), call upon some talking animal friends, and generally figure out a way to save the day before Fashion Week. Everything that I feel used to be great about the Fables series was present in this mini. You get the side-stories, like Cinderella’s storekeeper who finds himself in hot water when he decides to create his own magical shoes (against her wishes) only to discover the Fables can’t take them off – causing quite the ruckus and becoming a running gag over the course of the entire book. Because the Fables are immortal, we also get to see flashbacks to prior missions that Cindy has gone on, as she relates them to the events happening to her right then in the story. It also has all the things that make this an adult fairy tale, from the themes to the language and violence – so don’t go in expecting this to be for kids. But if you’re looking for a high-octane spy adventure with a dash of magic, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

6 comments:

Budd said...

as fables goes, this one wasn't too kid unfriendly.

Blodeuedd said...

I do like the Fables so I would read it

Harry Markov said...

I definitely loved this one. I have to say that Cinderella as the spy is the best decision for her development. Don't you think that she is like a Sydney Bristol. :)

Jim Haley said...

@Budd - you're right, I just don't want anyone coming into Fables cold thinking this is for kids.

@Blodeuedd - it's the most worthwhile thing I've read from Fables in a long while (since the war with the Adversary and some of the early Jack books).

@Harry - you're absolutely right, I never even thought to make the comparison to Alias. It's very much in that vein, and the whole thing just works so well for her character because it's so unexpected. I can't wait to check out the next series featuring her, Fables are Forever.

Harry Markov said...

Won't ruin it for you, cause I have read the first issue and you will see a fable that will blow your mind as Cindy's adversary.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm reading a totally bizarre batman and robin graphic novel right now. It's like a 70s feminist romp mixed with American Psycho.