“Cinderella: Fables are Forever” comes to a close this month, and it’s a pleasant reminder of why Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus have now put together not one but two “Cinderella” mini-series for Vertigo. It might not blow your mind, but it’s a satisfying conclusion to Cinderella and Dorothy’s battles.
Roberson gives us one final dose of exposition here, explaining what Dorothy’s been up to and tying it in to her “Jack of Fables” appearances, before diving into the final battle between Cinderella and Dorothy. It’s a satisfying fight, in part because Cinderella’s skills have always been more on the mental than physical side. So in a straight-up fight, she might lose, but as always it’s her wits about her that makes it interesting. And unlike some other stories where the lead character uses brains to get out of a bad situation, there are no deus ex machinas on display here. Everything’s laid out and on the table for the reader to spot just as easily as Cinderella, which is a nice touch.
I’ve enjoyed McManus’s work ever since his (unfortunately slightly truncated) “Sandman” run, so it’s a pleasure to see him here. I love how the flashbacks to young, innocent Dorothy (with that big grin as she and Toto escape Oz the first time) make her look carefree and sweet, while the present day Dorothy is still nasty and grim while clearly still the same character. There’s a lot of nice body language here too, from Dorothy running her finger along Cinderella’s throat (while Cinderella gives off a defiant look), to the look of triumph flashing across Cinderella’s face when she figures out how to win once and for all.
The “Cinderella” mini-series are both a little disposable, but that’s part of the fun. They’re escapist spy drama mixed with the fantastical world of “Fables,” and with each new installment it makes me appreciate what Roberson and McManus have put together here. And having the comics all topped off with gorgeous covers from Chrissie Zullo, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. So long as Roberson and McManus want to create more “Cinderella” mini-series, I know I’ll read them. It’s flat-out entertaining, and that’s exactly what I want from this comic.