Introduction:Ruler of the comic book crime world Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are at it again with their latest crime noir comic book called Fatale. This time though, Brubaker and Co. are mixing in the world of the occult and magic with the story of a woman who drives men to insanity and tells of the deeds they do to prove their love.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colors: Dave Stewart
Content: Fatale is for mature readers and contains violence, adult situations, gore, occult ideas, and language.
Publisher: Image Comics
Story:At the crux of the story is Josephine, a stunning ivory skinned woman with jet black hair that makes men do unspeakable things in the name of love and passion. With just a few words men are under her spell, dumfounded and tongue tied in her presence. From a new acquaintance, a mob boss, and a reporter, all are captured by something that she is able to project and hold over them.
At the same time, a detective with ties to the occult is drawn into a complex set of murders whose results leave many dead in horrifying ways. What they were actually doing is not known, or if they even succeeded, but something spooks detective Walt Booker enough to seek a powerful being using his own knowledge of the occult and magic. What is truly transpiring and how they are all connected is hinted at, but remains to be seen.
Review:I’ve read some of Brubaker and Phillips previous crime works and although I appreciated the quality of the material, the whole crime noir genre isn’t really my thing. I’ll usually give things a try though and when I saw Fatale show up in my review que I decided to check it out. I’m glad I did.
What we have here is what Brubaker calls and idea that he’s been, “…circling for a long time.” It was based on an old proposal where he tried to blend, “…mythology and history and horror and magic.” He also states in the editorial at the end of the first issue that he abandoned it because he didn’t feel he could give it his real voice without trying to be someone else.
Fatale combines elements of his beloved crime noir genre with elements of magic and the occult. It is these twists that really excite me as a reader and I know I will continue to follow along with this series. I read it once through and then went back and read it again, picking up on all kinds of things I missed the first time through. Pay attention, because you will miss some subtle hints and clues as to the origin of Josephine and the other characters in the book, as well as what is really going on.
Phillips art really works for the subject matter that Brubaker is telling here. He seems to be able to mix a very gritty and shadowy style with strong details. If you just glance at it, Phillips art may seem a bit too loose and messy, but when you study it further, you can really start to see the attention to detail there.
Add to the mix the very talented Dave Stewart of Hellboy fame and you have the recipe for a really great first comic that delves into the subject matter quite handsomely, answering just enough questions and leaving a lot more unanswered that makes the reader definitely want to pick up the second issue.