The legendary team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips returns to the seedy underworld of noir in Fatale #1, a new mini-series from Image Comics. When Nicolas Lash meets the mysterious Jo, he gets more than he bargained for, as he gets entwined in a decades-old mystery full of corrupt cops, dark rituals, and a secret worth killing for!
Brubaker is right at home writing crime noir, with all its depressing tropes and trappings, and that often makes his work an acquired taste. I didn't feel his previous work like Incognito: Bad Influences, but with Fatale the added hint of the paranormal makes it interesting for me. It's certainly a challenge reading through this, as Brubaker hits you with a lot of characters at once, only relying on snippets of their conversations for hints on who's who and what's what. But it's that feeling of confusion and helplessness that adds flavor to the story, and as the mystery opens up to the characters, you're right there with them. With the mystery involving cults and ritual sacrifices and the paranormal...I'm guessing the next issue is gonna keep me up at night.
The art of Fatale is delightfully dark, with whatever light there is illuminating only something even darker and bloodier. Sean Phillips has mastered noir atmosphere, from the dingy bars to the beautiful dames to the smoke-filled air, complimenting Brubaker's story like nothing else. What can you expect from such a storied collaboration?
Fatale #1 is not your usual first issue, but it's not your usual book. With the promise of a Lovecraftian mystery brewing for our poor characters, Brubaker and Phillips managed to grab me hook, line and sinker. If noir might not be your thing, this might just be the book to convince you other wise. This gets a 4 out of 5.