In Review: Cinderella One-Shot

If you'd like to read a different, darker take on Cinderella, this is for you.

The covers: There are four covers to find before midnight. The A cover is by Renato Rei and Wes Hartman. It shows Cinderella, wearing a top that’s barely containing her bust, turning to see a woman in red behind her. Cinderella looks good, showing off her femininity in typical Zenescope cover fashion. I have no idea who the woman is behind her, but I’m guessing it’s her wicked stepmother. I don’t understand the light source in the image: Cindy’s left arm and shoulder are being hit by the light, but why? Shouldn’t there be a glow backlighting the stepmother instead? I don’t get the light on her arm. The B is by Emilio Laiso and Sean Ellery. This Cinderella is much more in line with the character that resides in this issue. She’s got a sword over her shoulders as she strides away from some recent kills. A smile is on her face as she hears the crows coming in to feast on the dead. Good, vicious image of the character with the colors being nicely bright. Paul Green is the artist whose cover I chose to go with this review. It’s the good girl pin-up cover, and it reminds me of the Bride from Kill Bill. Cindy has two swords in her hands as she snarls at the readers, blood is splattered behind her from what she’s just done. Excellent cover and my favorite of the lot. The final cover, the D, is by Alfredo Reyes and Ivan Nunes. This is a much more traditional image of three of the characters, though Cinderella’s garb is a little more revealing than memory serves. The protagonist is on the floor, cleaning it with a rag, as her stepsisters laugh at her labors. Terrific imagery that’s colored way too darkly. Brighter colors would have made this stand out much, much more. Overall grades: A B+, B A-, C A+, D C+

The story: This was a pleasant surprise to me. I’ve only been reading Zenescope’s titles for the past seven months and know next to nothing about this character. I like the take on her (Spoiler: she’s a villain) and what she does in this outing. The inside cover tells readers that the events in this issue take place after Grimm Fairy Tales #113, but it’s not necessary to have that book, or series, to understand what Lou Iovino does in this book. The issue opens with Cinderella in a mansion swinging a sword at giant plant’s tendrils. She’s telling an unseen antagonist “You can’t have them! They belong to me!”, but she’s quickly smacked down by one of the enormous vines. The next two pages are a double-paged spread that reveals a giant pumpkin head, sporting sharp teeth. It’s the creature she’s battling; evidently this is her pumpkin carriage as seen though Hell’s lenses. Next to the pumpkin beast is a wizard-like man holding a book in one hand and a glowing whip the other, which has bound three haggard looking women. Cinderella escapes, only to be shocked at what the wizard summons. The book then goes back in time three days to show how Cinderella got to this state. I liked her interactions with the other villains, and her surprising decision with them. Her home life was shocking, until I started to think what this classic character would do if she were tweaked a little to the Dark Side. It was then that her actions seemed perfectly reasonable, granted they’re absolutely horrific, but reasonable given what she’s had to endure. Her two minions were sensational — I loved them! How she’s drawn back into the action was believable and I went completely along with her on her dark quest. When the issue ended I was disappointed because I wanted more of her. My fingers are crossed for her to return in GFT or some other Zenescope book. This was a fun, dark read. Overall grade: A 

The art: I liked parts of Ryan Best’s work on this One-Shot, while other parts came off as lesser. Things start out very strong on the first page as Cindy battles the pumpkin’s vines. The first panel has some strong action and a good sense of motion with her swinging sword and her really long ponytail. The background is very impressive: I love the windows, fountain, and marble work. This was a lush environment that instantly transports the reader into this fantasy. I’m a big fan of the classic villain closing in on the hero, and Best does that in the final panel on the first page. Pages 2 and 3 is a neat twist on the classic fairy tale carriage. The detail work on the creature is great. However, it’s so massive that the wizard and his captives would be lost if it wasn’t for the dialogue coming out of him. On Page 4 all backgrounds disappear. This was disappointing considering what had been done on the previous three pages. However, they return on 5 and they look good. I like the action in the third panel on this page and Cinderella’s reaction to something in the fourth panel looks great; her emotion is completely opposite of what’s been shown so far. On 6 the backgrounds disappear or become scarce. This happens often in this book: a highly detailed page or panel followed by no backgrounds for some time. The character work is also up and down. Cinderella fares the best, and she should, because she’s the lead. The evil wizard also looks good; so does Cindy’s two minions, who are exceptional. Not faring so well are the three women that must bow before the lead’s demands and the army’s soldiers, who are very simplistic. I like some of the visuals, but am disappointed in others. Overall grade: C+

The colors: There’s no faulting the coloring on this book. Thiago Dal Bello brings some super work to every page. All of the characters look great with the shading of their flesh making them look good. When backgrounds don’t exist, an excellent variety of colors are used to highlight the emotion of the story; for example, Page 8, 11, 15, etc. The effects that Dal Bello does with flames are really well done. I also like the work done on the dragon that appears, with it given an appropriate scale coloring. When Cinderella has to confront a familiar face from her past, the backgrounds go nicely pink, creating a romantic undertone. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, sound effects, the story’s title, an editor’s note, screams, and a crowd’s responses are conjured by Matt Krotzer. The story doesn’t have any avenues for Krotzer to create a variety of fonts for nonhuman characters, as they don’t say anything. However, what he does do is create some excellent sound effects, with the crowd’s responses at the book’s close very strong. I like what I’m seeing, and I’d like to see him do another Zenescope book where he’s allowed to create more. Overall grade: B+

The final line: I was pleasantly surprised by the story, but wished the art had been more consistent. If you’d like to read a different, darker take on Cinderella, this is for you. Overall grade: B

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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