Comic Vine Review

8 Comments

Fatale #17 Review

4

Jo has a talent for ensnaring men, but it's all catching up to her

The Good

FATALE is always dramatic, but this issue takes the story -- and Jo's dark side -- to new heights. Our sweet, doe-eyed heroine, who always seems to be a bit of a victim, has a surprising sense of comfort and control when things turn criminal.

True to the femme fatale archetype, her darkest moments are revealed and relished only in close quarters. To the world, she's sweet Josephine -- or Jane -- and she's bliss. But in secret, when it's just you around, she lets you in on the notion that she's thrilled by the idea of robbing a bank. And when she robs that bank, she means business. And then -- when it's done -- she's back to her sweet self. The shift is seamless, immediate, and thoroughly well-scripted by Brubaker and Phillips.

Also true to her type is the eventual fallout, the tearful breakdown. A determined, cold killer one moment is a weeping girl the next; she's constantly in flux, because her dark side and her good-girl persona don't mix so well. Being Jo has to be difficult (though, perhaps not as difficult as being one of her men!).

The scene between Jo and Skip, all the way through that gutting, mascara-streaked panel is possibly one of the most honest, conflicted, and beautiful things I've seen Sean Phillips draw (and it's hard to isolate exceptional sequences from his body of work!). It's light on dialogue, but heavy on emotions, and the twists and changes in Jo's face are more evocative than most Hollywood actresses can manage. We also get to see a forceful display of Jo's power, and her capacity for self-preservation. Is it any wonder she's lived so long?

And, of course, in the background, we see snippets of other entanglements, yet to reach closure. Jo has reach, and it seems that everyone she's touched is either closing in on her or running as far away as possible.

The Bad

It's great to see the full range of Jo's influence, but this issue in particular leaped from story to story with little transition. Juggling multiple subplots isn't easy, especially when they span different times and geographies, but a visual cue or two (caption box or otherwise) would relieve some of the "wait, when was that guy from?" on behalf of the reader.

The Verdict

It's hard not to crave more of this story, like Jo's men crave more moments with her -- in this regard, Brubaker and Phillips have locked us into FATALE in the most meta of ways. Every issue reveals more hooks, more drama, more danger, and even though the title itself tells us how things are going to play out, it's a captivating narrative with compelling illustrations. The multitude of subplots might make it a smart choice for trade-waiting, but I can't say no to each month's new issue -- you can't say no to Jo.

8 Comments
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@missj Hello! Well I have really gotten into many indie titles thanks to your reviews but I was wondering on a scale from 1-10, ten being the highest as in Must Read, how high would you recommend this series.

Posted by MissJ

@thefirstlantern: So glad to hear that! FATALE ranks in my top 5 of Image books right now (along with EAST OF WEST, MANHATTAN PROJECTS, SAGA, and SATELLITE SAM), so probably a 9-10 on your scale, but I wouldn't fault you for reading it in trade (since there are so many storylines that intercut at will). Pick up the first trade, see if Josephine lures you in, and then devour the rest of the series!

Staff
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@missj: Alright thanks! I have been eyeing it at my LCS for quite some time but I wasn't sure. Thanks for the clarification!

Posted by longbowhunter

When the series first started I thought Nick Lash was going to be our protagonist. Now after all these issues it's easy to forget about him and the present day stuff. But I still find it the most interesting.

Edited by SavageDragon

@missj said:

@thefirstlantern: So glad to hear that! FATALE ranks in my top 5 of Image books right now (along with EAST OF WEST, MANHATTAN PROJECTS, SAGA, and SATELLITE SAM), so probably a 9-10 on your scale, but I wouldn't fault you for reading it in trade (since there are so many storylines that intercut at will). Pick up the first trade, see if Josephine lures you in, and then devour the rest of the series!

I completely agree with Jenn. I can say with pride that Fatale is my favorite book month in and month out...period. I read some great indie books too, like Saga, Lazarus, The Wake, Morning Glories, Unwritten and more but Fatale is freaking great and so beautiful to look at. If you have started from issue #1 like me you can see how far the reader has gone. Were 17 issues in and we have learned so much and yet there is SO MUCH MORE. Its crime noir meets the occult and lovecraftian supernatural horror. Multiple time periods from SF in the 40s to the Wild West to Hollywood in the 70s to the middle ages and Portland in the 90s to the present day. Murder, psychos, sex, intrigue, a huge overarching plot with terror everywhere and ....Josephine! Get on board man anyone who likes any of the stuff just mentioned should give it a shot the trades are cheap but you have to start with teh 1st on imo. I love it. This issue was captivating.

Posted by manwithoutshame

Fatale is my favorite monthly series. Also, this issue is great. 5/5

Posted by jdp180

@thefirstlantern:

The first three trades are already in stores, and on Amazon, so get the first and if you are interested, and I'd be surprised if you werent, get the other two.

Posted by jdp180

When the series first started I thought Nick Lash was going to be our protagonist. Now after all these issues it's easy to forget about him and the present day stuff. But I still find it the most interesting.

I like that his story is told in smaller doses. I to thought he was the main character but it doesnt make his story less entertaining.