Review: Cinderella: Age of Darkness #1

Written by Guest Contributor: Jason DiGioia I already knew the pubescent me was long dead, but reading Cinderella: Age of Darkness #1 reaffirmed it. A 12-year-old me probably would have loved this book because of the boobs and PG-13 language. The 32-year-old me won’t be reading issue 2, and honestly, I’m very relieved I can say that.

My general comic book principle is this: if I’m too embarrassed to open the book (or expose the cover) on a plane next to a stranger, there’s something wrong. The cover art of C:AD 1 amounts to nothing more than T&A bait. I know, I know. Sex sells. It’s the oldest trade in human history, and obviously it sells comic books too, and it has for a long time. But it doesn’t have to. I can’t help but feel played down to, as if Zenescope expects me to be all id and no ego.

Cinderella---Age-of-Darkness-#1-11.5.14A sexy character isn’t a bad thing if done with purpose; however, the ladies in C:AD 1 have no real redeeming qualities. Their personalities are flatter than the board you should not use to protect this book if you accidentally buy it while in a libido driven fugue state. The title character herself slits someone’s throat on the first page, admits it was a mistake strategy-wise (she’s trying to gain information about Hades’s whereabouts), but defends herself by saying she was “in the moment.” I get it: Cindy is a lunatic assassin who loves to kill, especially when her ass is hanging out. She’s a wildcard. She’s unpredictable. She repurposes the word assassin: Ass-ass-in. Yes, asses are in, good character development is out.

Let me offer some delayed full disclosure: This is my first go ‘round with Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales universe. To dial-up the positivity for a moment, Joe Brusha and Pat Shand do a good job of getting me caught up with a bit of Cindy’s back story through internal monologue and flashback. I didn’t feel lost in the story, and that’s a good thing for anyone new to the universe and interested in not listening to me and actually picking up this book.

But here are two more reasons not to: The writing isn’t good, and the art is really inconsistent. At times, Ryan Best’s art is adequate for this kind of book, but then there are some panels that look incredibly dull. Maybe there’s a method to this dullness; maybe it’s meant to artistically capture the authors’ writing. I stopped and smiled a few times at how poorly written parts of the issue were. Hades, brother of Zeus and Poseidon, bent on avenging their murders, refers to earth as a “spinning ball of misery” much the same as a brooding teen would refer to his or her high school as a “cold block of concrete despair”. That’s just a taste of the insipid writing between the boobied front cover and the preview of issue 2’s boobied cover.

Early in the book, the Dark Queen says, “[Cinderella] has only been granted her position of power within the horde because of Malec’s soft spot for blondes with perky breasts.” I can’t help but think, and hope, that the writers are having a wink-wink moment with the audience. I really think Cinderella has only been granted this titular miniseries because of readers’ soft spots for blondes with perky breasts.

Score: 1/5

Writers: Joe Brusha and Pat Shand Artist: Ryan Best Publisher: Zenescope Entertainmetn Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/5/14 Format: Mini-series (1 of 3); Print/Digital