Pulp 101 652

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Pulp 101 652

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Pulp, your home of all things comic books! Now that I’ve gotten uni out of the way for another year, I’ve actually got a bit of free time to dive back into some of my favourite books; in addition to re-reading Preacher – and what a thrill that was! – I was able to re-enter the world of one of my favourites from way back. This week, I’ve picked up Cinderella: Fables Are Forever, a spin-off from Bill Willingham’s classic series Fables.

I’ve been a fan of Fables for a while now; I picked up my first volume years ago, which then exploded into a collection of 14 or so (there’s 22 all up!). While my enthusiasm lapsed a little – and I’m yet to actually finish the series – I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dive back in when I spotted the Cindy-centric spin-off sitting on a shelf. While I was initially somewhat sceptical about Fables spin-offs – the Jack of Fables series just never interested me, mostly because I found the character to be annoying – I was pleasantly surprised this time around. Written by iZombie’s Chris Robertson, Fables Are Forever fits perfectly into the excellently crafted Fables world – no small task, as far as I’m concerned.

A sequel to From Fabletown With Love, Fables Are Forever follows the adventures of Cinderella – socialite, fashionista and Fabletown’s master spy. Given the black ops and dirty jobs, Cindy roams the word, living the life of a secret agent. As it stands, every secret agent has their nemesis – and Cinderella is no exception. After a powerful magician is found dead bearing the calling card of the Silver Slipper, and another begs her for help, Cindy goes on a worldwide hunt for the woman she thought she’d killed.

If it wasn’t already obvious, the Cinderella spin-off is pretty much James Bond with Fables. While it might sound a bit “meh”, it’s still an enjoyable concept. While there aren’t any Martini-soaked Brits running around shooting folks, Cinderella proves to be an interesting protagonist with her own take on espionage. The dark-n-gritty spy life is a nice change of pace compared to the main series; it fills in a gap in the narrative and makes both the main series and this spin-off actually seem like parts of a bigger whole. While the book only briefly touches on Cindy’s time in Fabletown – as well as elements seen in the aforementioned Jack of Fables – it’s a globe-trotting adventure that would make Ian Fleming proud.

Robertson and artist Shawn McManus (The Sandman) work remarkably well together, and emulate Willingham and Co with ease. McManus’ artwork wouldn’t look out of place in any Fable-centric book, even if it’s a little more risqué than the usual Fables fare. While it doesn’t have the same kind of scope as Fables, Cinderella’s adventures make for a fascinating look at the more brutal side of a traditionally light-hearted character. While it would certainly help to be versed in the Fables lore/world, it’s not too niche; I have a feeling that first-time readers could pick it up with little to no trouble. The book might be getting on a bit – it was first published in 2012 – and the main series might have finished up, but it’s still a damn good way to get back into a classic series.

Written by Alastair McGibbon