Bill Willingham’s Fables had a lot of break-out characters, but few were as fascinating as the book’s take on Cinderella. Care-free bon-vivant by day, fairy tale princess Cinderella was Fabletown’s sexiest super spy by night. Last year, Cinderella got her own miniseries, Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, a book that was successful enough to warrant a follow-up from the same creative team. I was excited for From Fabletown With Love – there aren’t many good spy books on the shelves, and there are even fewer with a strong female protagonist – but it came at a time when I simply couldn’t afford comics on a monthly basis. Cinderella is an interesting character, and one well-suited to carrying her own very distinct book, so I was eager to give her a shot when I discovered a second mini was forthcoming.
A number of years ago, Fables revealed the surprise fate of one of its most well-known characters: empty-headed princess Cinderella was, in fact, one of Fabletown’s most potent spies, an off-the-books agent who would get the job done without question. Using her cover as an international fashionista, Cinderalla does whatever Fabletown needs, wherever they need it done. With only a few issues focusing on her adventures, she seems a strange choice to focus a new Fables spin-off on, but Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus do a good job introducing her to non-Fables fans while diving straight into the action.
Set after the war with the Adversary concludes, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #1 is at a strange point in Fables continuity, but it doesn’t care much, quickly sending her away from Fabletown to travel the world searching for mystic artifacts that are being trafficked from the Homelands into the mundane world. Much like Jack of Fables, this promises to give us another glimpse into the strange intersection between the mundane and the surreal and how other supernatural creatures have found a place elsewhere in the world, albeit from a completely different angle. Whether a new point of view is reason enough for another spin-off, only time will tell.
Artist Shawn McManus’ cartoony style fits the Fables Universe well and he has no trouble jumping betweeen a belltower showdown with an assassin and a meeting between Cinderella and her secret informant’s, which include, for example, one of the blind mice. Roberson, meanwhile, provides the beginnings of a simple story that promises plenty of action, intrigue and magic – which is pretty much exactly what was expected. Well-conceived and largely well-handled Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love #1 seems to be a worthy, if unnecessary, addition to the Fables stable.
– Cal Cleary