REVIEW: Cinderella Versus Zombies Brings the Fun

Cinderella has moved to Toronto for a fresh start. However, when a horde of the undead descends on the city, she finds herself in more trouble than she asked for. At turns both goofy and gory, Cinderella Versus Zombies is a slapstick horror comedy that delivers on a good time.

Cinderella Versus Zombies

Jordi Tarragona (Artist), Dave Franchini (Writer), Igor Vitorino and Ivan Nunes (Cover Artists), Taylor Esposito (Letters), and Jorge Cortes (Colors)
Zenescope
October 20, 2021

An image of a woman. She is crouching and holding a katana. She is wearing a blue and white dress with white stockings. She is in a graveyard surrounded by zombies reaching out to her.

Cindy Monroe, better known as Cinderella, is done with the monsters and mayhem of her life. She’s moved to Toronto, bought a new dress, and is on a date with a successful self-help guru. She plans to get her life back on track by charming her way into her date’s self-help program for free since she doesn’t have money for seminars and books. Cinderella is sincerely trying to put her chaotic past behind her and work through her issues, but her date turns out to be a creep. However, she doesn’t have much time to reconsider her strategy as a horde of flesh-eating zombies breaks into the restaurant and eats her date.

Armed with her trusty katana, Cinderella hits the town, slicing her way through the undead attacking the city. She trips, stumbles, and falls into the plot, encountering costumed heroes (among other strange characters) along the way as she tries to survive increasingly absurd zombie encounters. Through the power of her swordsmanship and smart mouth, Cinderella manages to find the source of the attack and learns to value herself for who she is, regaining her confidence and returning to her old ways.

Cinderella Versus Zombies promises a fun time and delivers. While the plot is thin at best and the jokes are purposefully immature, writer Dave Franchini gives Cinderella an entertaining voice through her one-liners and narration. It isn’t my brand of comedy, but Cinderella is a treat. She is a clueless and comically mean-spirited character who is convinced she’s always doing the right thing, no matter how badly it blows up in her face. Anyone who even mildly inconveniences her is left to the zombies, making for a few amusing deaths throughout.

The script gets away from Franchini and becomes quite wordy throughout much of the issue, which I find to be a common occurrence in many of his comics. Lengthy segments of narration provide a lot of character voice but can feel excessive during action sequences. Cinderella’s internal monologue works best with some restraint, such as in setting up the events of the story and in closing it out with a few parting gags. This leaves letterer Taylor Esposito to make the most of every panel without cluttering the composition or obscuring necessary information. I feel the result is successful, but some of the visuals could stand independently without all the text overexplaining them.

Artist Jordi Tarragona’s lines are loose and elastic, allowing for bombastic violence and exaggerated character reactions that deliver engaging, well-paced visual gags. Throughout the comic, Cinderella’s wild expressions are an emotional rollercoaster in themselves, ranging from grinning excitement during fight sequences to petulant sneering when she or someone else gets in her way. This often happens within the same page, her emotional highs and lows separated by panel gutters and a few lines of text. Gory from start to finish, the action is clean, and the zombie attacks are well-composed such that the violence never feels repetitive.

Although urban and interior settings can look a bit visually muddy, colorist Jorge Cortes does a perfectly serviceable job. Sequences of Cinderella navigating urban scenes rely on a muted palette of greens, grays, and browns. The glossy red blood and fleshy pink gore pop, but when objects, buildings, crowds, and secondary character outfits are all the same sort of murky gray-brown tone, it doesn’t add any visual interest or clarity to the narrative. Exterior night sequences are where Cortes excels, with colorfully textured blue skies and speckled stars are beautifully rendered by contrast. The bright, storybook-esque blue and white of Cinderella’s skimpy outfit are also generally used to good effect throughout, providing a dash of color in otherwise muted spaces.

Overall, Cinderella Versus Zombies is a highly entertaining horror-comedy romp. It promises katana-wielding hijinks and zombie splatter, and it more than delivers on that selling point. The jokes don’t always land for me, but Cindy’s one-liners and over-the-top personality more than make up for any soft spots. If you’re looking for a fun one-off with low stakes and a lot of personality, Cinderella Versus Zombies is worth checking out.

Magen Cubed

Magen Cubed

Magen Cubed is a novelist, occasional critic, and general internet menace. Frequently seen hollering about monsters on Twitter.

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