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December 25, 2011

Image Comics Reviews: Fatale #1

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Written by: AHudson
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Title: Fatale #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Cover: Sean Phillips

Book One: Death Chases Me“: Mickey Spillane is sadly long gone, Frank Miller has gone overboard, and while Max Allan Collins does occasionally do a comic book, he’s mainly focused on novels. So thank God for Ed Brubaker, because I don’t know what the crime and noir comics would be without him.

This time we get not a classic private eye or noirish superhero story, but rather a noir story that adds a little supernatural and occult to its flair. As promised, the story (for now) revolves around a fatale. Usually fatales in comics (regardless of the writer’s gender) fall into two categories. They try to be sexy. And while I certainly have no problem with sexy, they try too hard to be sexy, making them unsexy. Not to mention that it often makes the characters shallow. Or they’re just screaming “LOOK AT ME! I’M JUST AS STRONG AS GUYS!” every three lines and have a big feminist message, detracting from the character and making them annoying.

Fortunately, Brubaker writes one cool fatale. It’s just the right balance between sexy and tough, with no preachy messages and no dumbing down. Jo is a woman with a mystery of her own. Someone who you’d want on your side.

And the story itself has enough intrigue. I’m not sure how it will eventually turn out, but that’s the point. It sets up the elements of the story. We know there’s going to be tits and guns, all for fun; a story line that jumps between the fifties and present time; and of course, occult Nazis.

But of course, it wouldn’t be a strong comic without great artwork. Sean Phillips keeps it neat and simple, always keeping the noir atmosphere present. There’s no boring panels and if it’s action you want, Phillips can deliver it vividly. And let’s not forget Dave Stewart, who provides colors. His coloring reminds me much of Richmond Lewis’s work from Batman: Year One.

I’m not sure if it’s going to be something amazing or simply entertaining, but either way, it’s a win/win. And with Brubaker putting the ink down, it’s a sure sign that this series is going to have something big in store for us.

Andrew Hudson



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