–by Stephen Schleicher
Cinderella has been up to all sorts of black op business since Fabletown decided to take the offensive against the Adversary. But undercover work isn’t all dark alley business, sometimes you have to step into the light and deal with bigger problems.
Fables #51: Big and Small
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Shawn McManus
Mature Readers rating for brief nudity
Last time we saw Cindy she had her head in the clouds – literally! As we found out a while ago, Cinderella has been doing all sorts of undercover operations for Prince Charming. Her latest mission is quite different. For a while, she has been negotiating with the giants of the Cloud Kingdom to form an alliance with the fables. Unfortunately giants are lazy and don’t like to do a lot of work. This is especially true for the high king of the land, who when he gets bored, passes the crown to the next person in line. And since this happens quite frequently time is of the essence in getting the treaty signed.
The only thing standing in Cinderella’s way is King Rumbold’s earache. And with giant Doctor Jolimump and Minister Gustrolf preventing the princess from seeing the king, she needs to act fast. She could give aid to the king herself, but it would take her three days for Doctor Swineheart to train her.
The solution is for Cinderella to go small, and with the aid of a potion from Frau Totenkinder, she is transformed into a small mouse and seeks the aid of the doctor from Smalltown – the last refuge of the Lilliputians.
The story moves fast and after a bit of convincing, Doctor Smallish and mouse Cinderella make their way to the Cloud Kingdom to heal the king just in time – by crawling in his ear and draining the fluid themselves. Yuck!
While the King is well, he can’t understand what Cinderella is saying because she is now much smaller than ever before. Fortunately, Totenkinder’s spell wears off at just that moment and the giants are treated to a now naked Cinderella standing before them.
With the treaty signed, Cinderella is in the clear and able to get back to her cloak and dagger lifestyle. But at what cost? Cinderella hints that she had a price to pay to Totenkinder for her potion, but we don’t know what it is just yet.
This is an enjoyable story that moves quickly, and we certainly understand Cinderella’s frustration in this mission by the end of the story. As a one-shot story to clear our minds and allow us to catch our breath from lengthy and intense story arcs we have been through recently, this story is just fine. I do have some problems with the art. In many places Cinderella is drawn rather strangely. In fact the final panel gives the impression she has a really bad lazy eye going on. It is only distracting in a few places but the inconsistency is a mark against the issue. At least we are treated to another fantastic James Jean cover.
Overall Fables 51 gets 4 of 5 stars.