Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, best known as the duo behind Criminal, return with The Fade Out #1 from Image Comics. Taking place in 1948 Hollywood, we get a noir film story about the making of a film. Of course there’s more shady shenanigans going on as well. Read the following review to learn more!
Previously in The Fade Out: Nothing. New series.
FILM LOVERS SHOULD EAT THIS UP
If there’s one thing Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips know it’s crime stories and The Fade Out may just be their best one yet. We’re immediately introduced to the cast of characters (whose lead looks eerily like Bruce Timm), with a page devoted to faces, names and occupations. Readers are immediately thrown into the story. Charlie Parish wakes up in a bathtub after a night of partying at a Hollywood shindig. Unfortunately, in the other room a movie star is dead from an apparent strangulation. Unable to remember last night’s events he high tails it and later learns that the studio is covering up the details of her death. The best thing about The Fade Out is all the characters are working on a noir film that is having problems with delays and rewrites. The death of the main starlet doesn’t look like it will help much. It’s an awesome premise and feels like a movie within a movie. I love films and learning behind the scenes stories and any other film lover should enjoy this book. I was totally hooked the whole way through, engaged in the mystery and enthralled with the Hollywood scene, especially with the 1948 time period. It showcases Brubaker’s strength in telling a crime story and is some of the best writing I’ve seen of his. If there’s any problem I had, it’s that there is such brief introduction to the cast that it was hard to remember who the main players were. I found myself flipping back to the opening page to make sure I knew who was who. There is also some harsh language which was typical for the time but may still offend some. As if the issue couldn’t get any better, there is backup material by Brubaker’s friend Devin Faraci. He provides a stunning article about real life actress Peg Entwistle, an up-and-coming starlet who committed suicide by throwing herself off the Hollywood sign. It’s fascinating and really gives readers their money’s worth. Even cooler is the variant for The Fade Out #1 is magazine sized, with a beat up and aged appearance. Lots of research and work has gone into this comic and it certainly pays off.
LIKE LOOKING AT FILM FRAMES
Sean Phillips couldn’t be better suited to illustrate this book. The whole thing looks just like a crime movie front the 40’s, almost as if you’re looking at film frames. Shadows are heavy, everything looks dirty and almost everyone is smoking. Coloring is equally fitting, with dark, muted tones throughout. The faces in the book aren’t drawn as smoothly as the introduction page which led to some of my confusion but hardly a dampener. It’s great work and anyone who has read Criminal should know what they’re getting.
BOTTOM LINE: A SURE HIT. PICK IT UP NOW
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have struck gold with The Fade Out, crafting a compelling mystery with a dramatic setting. Those who love film should have a blast as the book is almost a movie within a movie. With fascinating backup material, you’re getting more than your $3.50 worth. I can’t recommend The Fade Out #1 more and it is one of the best books to come out this week. Based on how it’s selling, I suggest you go get it now.