REVIEW: Fatale #1

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A mystery, a horror story, and a noir detective novel walk into a bar… what comes out is not only a dame to kill for, but quite possibly a dame that will not die.

FATALE #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

This is the first issue, and we’ve done that schtick before, so why don’t we take a look at What the Solicitation Says: A reporter in 2012 stumbles on a secret that leads him down the darkest path imaginable… to a seductive woman who’s been on the run since 1935, a mobster who may be an immortal demon monster, and the stories of all the doomed men who’ve been caught in their decades-long struggle.

SHE WALKED INTO MY LIFE…

Pulp stories have always been my favorite kind of story to read. The really bizarre pulps feature the best of horror, noir, Nazis, and adventure that makes me soak in each and every page. Fatale feels like the really bizarre pulps, mixing the best of Lovecraft, The Shadow, and Spicy Detective as the readers begin to unravel the mystery of Josephine and the mysterious world she walks through.

While the story has a great plot, there are going to be moments in the issue where readers get lost as Brubaker introduces a lot of information to the reader. Some of it is very subtle, like the three different stories embedded in one another like a Russian nesting doll, while other elements are right in your face, like the Lovecraftian death cult that appear throughout the issue. Is this a story about woman who doesn’t age (or at least her granddaughter looks just like her)? A corrupt cop? A crime novelist? The executor who gets wrapped up in the search for something mysterious, or his father, the reporter who is trying to tie it all together? The answer, quite simply is, “Yes.”

While the jumps between characters may be a bit jarring to some, the shift feels a lot like the way Shea and Wilson told their tale in the Illuminatus! Trilogy. But unlike the crazy way the two Roberts got to the end of their tale, Brubaker and Philips look like they have a plan to get us from the beginning to the end, and if this opening chapter is any indication, this is going to be one hell of a fun ride.

… AND I COULDN’T SHAKE HOW BEAUTIFUL SHE WAS…

Sean Phillips delivers some fantastic art in this issue, and with his heavy inks and his ability to capture environmental lighting evokes the classic noir movies from the ’40 and ‘50s. There are a few panels that are truly spectacular, and only one or two that didn’t work for me. There is some fantastic stuff in the pages of this first issue, and I want to read and see more.

BOTTOM LINE: … I WAS SOLD FROM THE MOMENT I LAID EYES ON HER

If you didn’t pick up Fatale #1 this week, get in your car, or on your bike, and get back to the comic book store now, and pick up this book. Fans of Brubaker and Phillips are in for something completely different, and fans of noir are gonna get their lids flipped a bit. It’s an opening chapter and everything is not going to be spelled out for the reader, but the bits that are present are like the corners of the puzzle – there’s a lot to build on, and when the big picture is revealed, it will all make sense. Again, if you haven’t picked up this issue, get it now. Fatale #1 earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½