A dash of “Sleeper”, a Noir-stock, a generous helping of Lovecraft and the spice of history. Let it stew. Best served cold, like revenge. Congrats! You have “Fatale” #7. The sprawling tale of noir-horror continues this week.
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Philips
BRUBAKER and PHILLIPS best-selling occult noir series continues its second arc, as the dark secrets of mid-70s Los Angeles begin to creep into Josephine’s new life. Drugs, sex, cults, fame, and murder, all walk hand in hand in the shadow of demonic forces.
This new arc of “Fatale” is just creepy, in every sense of that word. The story is slowly building up like ivy up the side of an old house. The inclusion of the seventies sex and drug cults creates an authentic ‘satan in the suburbs’ vibe. The extensive reading and research Brubaker puts into each issue of “Fatale” create a fullness of setting, to the point where the time period itself is as essential a character as those with dialogue. Of course, for anyone who has read “Captain America” in the past few years, this shouldn’t come as a surprise from Brubaker. In fact, given that “Fatale” bounces back and forth between modern era and flashbacks, Brubaker’s time on that Marvel title has given him more than enough time to perfect this type of storytelling.
Something to respect about “Fatale” is that it is an ‘in for the long haul’ type of story that can be rare to find these days. Here it is at issue seven, and the reader is still having the story slowly unfold in front of them. What we can assumedly call ‘the main plot’ isn’t even really touched upon in this issue, and that is perfectly fine because there is more than enough intrigue to keep you coming back. There are plently of unanswered questions yet to be answered: What was done to Josephine? What exactly is she? How can she afford a huge home complete with staff? Most importantly, if Raines is so important to this story, where is he now? When it comes to Brubaker, the best part of asking these questions is you know they will be answered, along with a few kicks in the teeth.
Then there is Sean Philips. Another perk to reading a book by Brubaker is that oftentimes, you get Sean Philips as well. This hadsgot to be one of the best dynamic duos in comics. In fact it is rather difficult to separate this review into “words” and “art” sections, because really it’s the chemistry between the creators that makes this book work so well. There really isn’t a more perfect illustrator for Brubaker’s scripts than this man. Each page is drawn with a heavy sense of mood; the faces are expressive, although some characters do have the tendency to look a little too similar.
All in all though, this is another issue Philips nailed. Philips’ posing and composition helps the reader get into the character’s heads, and the effect is sometimes so subtle that you have to read a page several times to really catch what made a specific idea click in your head. This is not a gore spattered horror book, nor a flashy superhero story. Everything in “Fatale” seems to revolve around subtly.
According to the issue’s extras in the back, this installment was late. While nobody likes late comics, the tardiness just further proves that the key to a good Brubaker/ Philips book is patience. It also makes me wish I owned a time machine so I can read the rest of this arc right now, because the suspense is so thick I need a chainsaw.
Final Verdict: 8.5- Buy it.