Cinderella: Fables are Forever (2012)

 

Quote:
What did you expect me to call myself, Dorothy Gale, killer-for-hire? Or maybe the wicked bitch of the East?

 

This book collects the second six issue Fables mini-series featuring super-spy Cinderella. It was again written by Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus. There is also a tale set in the preparation for the war with the Adversary, from Fables 51, that was drawn by McManus but written by Fables creator Bill Willingham.

Cinderellla returns in a story set during the evacuation of the Farm because of the onslaught by Mister Dark. One of the leading witches from floor 13 has been murdered and the only clue is a silver slipper charm. Cinderella finds herself tracking down an old foe who she thought was dead and being involved with Fables from the shadow Fabletown that she has spied on in the past. But who can she trust and who is laying traps for who?

Another good standalone tale from the world of Fables. The only problem with it is that it attempts to place itself within the continuity of the main book and uses the murder of a character to achieve this. The story itself, from the time that Cinderella gets down to investigating the case till the resolution, has little impact or relevance to the main book and so the set up seems contrived and unnecessary. But other than that small niggle the story is great with lots of twists and turns and unexpected revelations both from Cinderella’s past and present.

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love (2010)

 

Quote:
Your taste in men hasn’t improved, that’s certain. And you never did know when it was time to leave a party.

 

This book collects the six issue mini-series, from Vertigo, that is a spin-off from Fables. It was written by Chris Roberson who is currently also writing iZombie for the same company. The art was by the great Shawn McManus whose work I don’t seem to see nearly enough these days.

Cinderella, the apparent fashion show hopping socialite, is actually an experienced spy for Fabletown. In this story she is sent off to try and discover and eliminate the source of the flow of magical artefacts into the Mundy world from the Homelands. On the way she hooks up with Aladdin who is on the same mission. Together they uncover a plot to sell artefacts for Mundy weapons so that various individuals can make concerted assaults on Homeland territories now that the Emperor has been defeated. Cindy finds the mission turns personal when confronted with a figure from her past.

This is a fun tale from the world of Fables. The dialogue between Cindy and Aladdin is good and there is enough twists on the expectations of the character of Cinderella to keep the book entertaining throughout. It reminded me a lot of the early days of the Fables series itself when it was much more dependant on its fairy tale origins than it is currently. I love the art by McManus but then I have loved his work from the time of the Dr Fate series from the mid to late 80s.

iZombie: Dead to the World (2011)

[ Listening to Metallica Currently: Listening to Metallica ]

Quote:
For now, I’m just happy to be alive. Well, you know what I mean.

iZombie volume 1 cover

 

This book collects issues 1 – 5 of the newish ongoing iZombie series from Vertigo. It was written by Chris Roberson who wrote the Fables spin-off series From Fabletown with Love and apparently writes some character called Superman – he’ll never catch on. The art is by Michael Allred who is probably most well known for Madman.

The story concerns Gwen Dylan a zombie who works in a graveyard. Gwen is not the usual kind of zombie – she can avoid becoming a ravening, shambling monster by eating brains once a month. The price of eating someone’s brains is that she experiences temporary imprints of the person’s memories in her mind. After eating the brain of the recently deceased Fred Harris, Gwen discovers that he was murdered and feels compelled to investigate further with the help of friends Scott (a were-terrier) and Ellie (a ghost resident in the graveyard). When Gwen finally confronts the killer she finds that the circumstances of Fred’s death might be more complicated than she was led to believe.

This offering from Vertigo has a supernatural setting – there is also a nest of vampire girls running Blood Sports paintball to lure in potential donors – where the traditional monsters that we all know are given a new twist by Roberson. I quite like the setup he creates for Gwen in this world. The book itself suffers slightly in that it is setting up the landscape in which the characters operate and Allred’s art, while good, lends the book the air of girl’s teen romance type book. However the premise is interesting enough that I will stick with it for at least another volume to see where Roberson takes the various monstrous characters.

Jack of Fables: The New Adventures of Jack and Jack (2010)

 

Quote:
“Get your paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

“There’s no need to be rude. It isn’t as if hot baths are easy to come by in the jungle.”

 

This is volume 7 of the Jack of Fables paperbacks and it collects issues 36-40. It was again written by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with a one-off story written by Chris Roberson. The art was by various combinations of Tony Akins, Russ Braun, Andrew Pepoy and Jose Marzan, Jr.

The first story is a filler from Chris Roberson called Jack ‘n’ Apes which is a tale from Jack’s past when he was on the run (again) and pitched up in the jungle of West Africa and ran into a colony of Fable apes. The remaining four installments by the regular writing team pick up the story from the end of The Great Fables Crossover. In it Jack (along with sidekick Gary) head off on the road again without a care in the world looking for the next opportunity to make money but along the way they discover that the choices that Jack has made in the past have consequences that only now make themselves apparent. This volume has two plot lines and the second follows Jack’s son, with the Snow Queen, Jack Frost as he sets out on the road to adventure and being a hero across the Fables Homelands. However he doesn’t find it easy as first real quest – to save a town from rampaging monsters – is further complicated when he has to complete a quest for the monsters in exchange for the release of the townsfolk.

Although only a filler story after the major crossover event, Roberson’s story was everything I love about a Jack of Fables story. It was funny and had Jack furiously trying to work an angle at every opportunity – switching allegiances every couple of pages. The riff on the Tarzan legend was great especially his relationship with Jane.

The main story looks like a change of direction, for now at least, with Jack’s son taking a more prominent role and showing his father how a true hero acts – although Jack, of course, already believes he is the first and greatest hero of them all. Jack is sidelined as, Dorian Gray style, his past actions literally transform him. I will need to see how this change of direction plays out but it could be interesting with Jack Frost travelling between the worlds of the Homelands looking for adventure opens up the book to perhaps more varied and interesting story ideas. My only worry is that it may become too like the main book if they persist with the formula for too long.