In Review: Cinderella Serial Killer Princess #3

Madwoman Cinderella cuts a swath of violence across the Zenescope Universe.

The covers: A fierce four for fervent fans to find. Looking extremely proud of herself, Cindy holds the severed head of the Lion from Oz up to her face on the A cover. This twisted image was brought to life by Drew Edward Johnson and Ceci de la Cruz. Cinderella looks terrific, with an awesome look of satisfaction on her face. The Lion looks good too, with his mouth frozen open in a final roar. Good coloring on this as well, with the pale yellow stripe in the background giving the highlight to the severed feline’s head. The B is by Jose Luis and Sanju Nivangume and features Tinkerbell and Cindy about to have a sword fight. The pixie is in the air, her wings beautifully translucent, back lit by strong yellow sunlight. Cinderella is screaming as she rushes forward with her weapon. Decent cover, but Cindy looks too rigid in her movements and the coloring is so dark on Tink it’s hard to make out any of the details in her. C is for cheesecake in this image by Keith Garvey. Wearing only white panties, matching stocking and blue heels, Cinderella is on a rug in front of a fireplace. The rug is the corpse of the Cheshire Cat, whose hideous smile stares out at the reader. Nice, but keep away from the kiddies! The final cover is the D Allan Otero and Leonardo Paciarotti. This features the best representation of the title character. She’s sitting atop a table holding a teacup that’s broken and has red liquid pouring out. On the table behind her are several bodies from Wonderland, including the gigantic corpse of the Jabberwocky. Cindy looks great, as do all the characters–er, uh…bodies behind her. The coloring is also perfect, with this being the most colorful cover, but without any of them being overdone or blending in with elements next to them. Cinderella is definitely the highlight on this cover. Overall grades: A A, B C+, C A, and D A+

The story: “Yeah, things have, like, definitely gotten a little more crazier since the last time we talked,” Cindy tells the reader as she’s riding a bunnicorn (an oversized rabbit that has a horn growing out of its forehead), with four severed heads hanging from its saddle, while an army of child sized mushroom and carrots accompany her as her army. She’s in Wonderland to kill all of its famous and infamous citizens, and down they go, one by one. The last two denizens left standing are the Walrus and the Carpenter, who should have known better than to walk into the Queen of Hearts’ hedge-maze. Then it’s back to Earth for the Liddles to receive the homicidal blonde’s attentions. A giant image of the carnage is taken and shown to a red wearing individual who’s tied to a chair. This person says nothing while Cindy rambles on, ending by showing off an “awesome toy” she was given. Joe Brusha and Dave Franchini concocted this crazed comic concerning multiple killings of characters from the Zenescope line, with Franchini actually writing the story. The more familiar one is with the characters, the more a reader will have a reaction to who dies and how they are killed. Cindy doesn’t just knock off those in Wonderland, but makes stops in Oz and Neverland. The famous characters of those locales also bite the dust in a variety of ways, with the Scarecrow’s passing being the saddest of the issue. When Avril and Britney show up and do battle with her, readers will know who’s left for this serial killer princess to fight, and she appears in silhouette on the penultimate page. One’s love of this book will depend on how much he or she likes Cinderella and the graphic deaths of several iconic Zenescope characters. I’ll admit to not being thrilled to see some of these characters killed, but I trust Brusha and Franchini enough to know they’ve got a good solution to all this bloodshed. Plus, Cinderella’s loopy behavior is in line with her character and I enjoy it. Overall grade: A

The art: Fritz Casas is responsible for Pages 1 – 14 and 22, Marc Rosete for 15 – 21, and Manuel Preitano for Page 17. Casas does a good job on his pages, with him giving his work an epic scale with the number of characters in a panel and handsomely detailed backgrounds. The face off shown between the second and third panels on 2 nicely shows who’s going to battle. The forest on 3 has some especially good work with all the signs and the many different points of view. How the Liddles are pulled back to Wonderland is good, as is how all the bodies from this locale end up. The top of 6 is a little disappointing; it’s a given that the bound character is supposed to be a surprise, but the angle at which the image is being looked at is not directly before the characters and that makes it odd. Page 7 is outstanding in every possible way: Cindy and the character she’s speaking with looks terrific, with the slight modifications in this character’s face being comedic gold. There’s a lot of fire in play on 11 and Casas does an excellent job in setting things up for the colorist to make this page explode. 15 and 16 is a double page spread that mimics a classic children’s game and brings Rosete into the book. It’s exceedingly clever and covers a lot of ground in the Zenescope Universe. 17 has Preitano interrupt for one page and the look of this page is hysterical, with Cindy’s reactions priceless. 18 brings Rosete’s work back and he does a good job with the remainder, with exception to the last page. It’s a full paged splash of a bust shot of Cindy and she does not resemble the way Rosete, or any other artist on this book, has drawn her. Additionally, her hair was a little messy on the previous page and on this it’s immaculate. It’s a slight ding in continuity, but one nonetheless. Overall grade: B+

The colors: With the exception of Page 17 by Beezzz Studios, the book is colored by Leonardo Paciarotti. Each of the three lands that Cindy visits to wreck havoc have a color that visually identifies them for the reader. Wonderland has an off-orange skyline to give it a fanciful feel and it makes the proceedings sinister as characters are knocked off. The blues and whites used for the Liddles’ abduction are very cool. Page 7 has beautiful colors that create an evening setting without obliterating the art. Oz has a pinkish tint that turns vibrantly yellow and orange on 11. Neverland is a beautiful blue until Tinkerbell is infuriated and things go dark brown and gold. 16 and 17 has bright colors that typify a child’s board game, while those on 17 are a wonderful mockery of the setting. The colors on this book are good. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, dialogue, Cheshire Cat speech, sounds, scene settings, yells, a character’s unique speech font on 7, and a song are crafted by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. There are some really small panels for Esposito to work his magic in and he succeeds every time: every bit of text is easily read. The unique speech fonts are a wonderful addition to the book, giving those characters an increased visual depth. Given the number of deaths in this book, the sounds are key in telling the reader what’s occurred, and several of them, such as SHUNK and SPLORCH, make the actions much more intense. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Madwoman Cinderella cuts a swath of violence across the Zenescope Universe. You’ll cringe, you’ll laugh, you’ll have a good time. Overall grade: A-

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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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