Writer Ed Brubaker continues this trend in FATALE where he delves deeper into the history of this magic and mysticism, and further and further away from the femme fatale (Josephine) at the center of this story. This time, Brubaker takes us to France, 1286 A.D. to a time where "witches" were burned at the stake. This time we follow a woman named Mathilda who suffers the same ailments that Josefine does: a woman who, as years pass her by, never ages a single day and wherever she walks, tragedy surely follows. Here, however, we get a closer look a the mystical power that this woman possesses. Even after being burned at the stake by a group called "The White Brotherhood," she manages to survive. Does this mean that Mathilda is immortal, and what does that mean for Josephine? I really like the way that Brubaker gives us a parallel story. He steps away from Josephine and the main story and turns instead to a tale of a woman who is remarkably similar to her. This is a great way to provide readers with insight into what it is exactly that is forcing this character to act in this way. It gives readers a chance to indirectly discover the extent of Josephine's powers, and it is all very well done.
Beyond getting insight into the extent of Josephine's capabilities, we also get a look at the reason behind the things that have been happening to her. Why is this strange cult been after her? What did they want? It is interesting to see the way things develop and Brubaker provides us with a lot of answers in this issue to what's going on in the main story without giving too much of it away.
Artist Sean Phillips once again illustrates another flawless issue of FATALE, adding depth and beauty to an already captivating story. He is the perfect artist for this book, capturing the tone of the story Brubaker is trying to tell in a way that is simply lovely.
Nothing bad to say about this issue, this is yet another beautiful issue of FATALE.
At first, I wondered whether the connection between Mathilda and Josephine was more than just the fact that these two women lived seemingly parallel lives: I wondered whether they were one and the same. The answer to that comes at the very end. This final scene also explains a lot of what has been going on. Why are these men after Josefine? What do they want with her? Drawing a parallel between these two seemingly similar characters is a great way of expanding the story and digging deeper into a set of characters in a way that isn't quite so obvious.
The issue is incredibly well organized. Every scene serves a purpose, but the story is a bit sad. It is upsetting that Mathilda had finally found someone who did not desire her in a sexual way; that she had finally found some peace only to see it all come to a violent end. It does force readers to beg the question, will Josephine fall prey to the same fate? Or will she manage to break the cycle? This is a good self-contained, jumping on point. As a stand alone story it's really well written and well done, but it also serves a far greater purpose in the grand scheme of things.