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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Fatale: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2

 
Fatale deluxe 2 cover
Fatale deluxe 2 cover
Fatale deluxe 2 cover

 
Overview
 

Story by: Ed Brubaker
 
Art by: Sean Phillips
 
Colors by: Elizabeth Brettweiser
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


User Rating
2 total ratings

 


To sum it all up..

OH MY, JOSEPHINE! Before Fade Out and Velvet, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips unleashed FATALE, their love letter to the terrifying mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Spanning for 24 issues and gathering critical acclaims, Fatale solidified the already formidable one-two combo punch of noir masters Ed and Sean. Image Comics treated Fatale favorably by releasing its […]

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Posted November 10, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Fatale deluxe 2 cover
OH MY, JOSEPHINE!

Before Fade Out and Velvet, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips unleashed FATALE, their love letter to the terrifying mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Spanning for 24 issues and gathering critical acclaims, Fatale solidified the already formidable one-two combo punch of noir masters Ed and Sean. Image Comics treated Fatale favorably by releasing its first hardcover deluxe edition last year. Right now, by popular clamor and naturally a formal closure, the independent comic publisher releases the ultimate volume, Fatale: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2.

In comparison with the first counterpart, this one is bigger, better, and mind-blowing due to its size and scope. It clocks a solid 440 pages, completing the journey of the mysterious femme fatale named Josephine in the century spanning game of cat-and-mouse. It features extensive behind-the-scenes of the series, artworks included. But the most significant and important addition here is the collection of interesting historical essays written by its resident contributor and student of popular culture history himself, Jess Nevins, whose themes centered on the lasting influences and legacies of the genius behind Cthullu and the supernatural horror genre.

Aside from the main protagonist’s escapades, this volume traces some of Josephine’s predecessors from centuries back until she unwillingly (or maybe otherwise) inherited the curse in the late 19th century. Brubaker, another serious student of history, makes sure those chapters possess the feel and ambiance of those historical timelines, including medieval Europe. Even when the shift goes to Josephine’s origins, Ed and Sean ensure the historical connectivity and authenticity of the prevailing zeitgeist of those times. For examples, the rock-and-roll and disco eras of the 1960s and 1970s respectively are portrayed with drugs and boozes. Also included here is the great earthquake in San Francisco that occurred in the early decade of the 20th century that felt much closer in Ed and Sean’s respect of the past. Even the conservative dressings of the 1950s are virtually accurate, particularly the city’s life and the taste even so. The only creepy in the team’s treatment of the selected past times is Cthullu’s presence.

Brubaker’s scripts are both sharp and intelligent. Dialogues are dark, but possess the authenticity of the period, be these in the 1910s, 1930s, 1950s, and the present times. This case is more so in the thought balloons, especially with Josephine and her male paramour. As always, pacing is necessary here in reading the writer’s body of works, and Fatale is no exception because he sprinkles a lot of red herrings and clues in the end of each chapter that demand to be reread to see the connectivity of Josephine and all of her lovers/paramours/victims/conquests, most glaringly in the last story arc that almost ties all loose ends and the bittersweet finale that may or otherwise leave readers approve this at all.

Sean Philips magnifies Ed’s grand vision with the artist’s patented but strikingly distinctive noir and suspense artworks that evoke the aura of mysticism, mystery and memories of the eras the femme fatale endured, experienced, and escalated along the way. Philips’s mastery of the sequential paneling, visual characterizations and portrayals, angular perspectives, even his imagination on the psychedelic universal memory lane celestial road trip are simply astonishingly stunning, if not outright gorgeous. Elizabeth Brettweiser’s colors intensify Sean’s pencils to greater heights of consciousness, especially the abovementioned climatic and galactic moments.

Indeed, Fatale: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2 has its share of minor asterisks. Naturally, readers should first read the first volume to get the idea or background how and why Josephine is such a tragic fatale at all. Second, the themes of human sacrifices, supernatural, promiscuity, iconoclasms, and lots of nudity and lovemaking can surely offend some myopic readers (if they read at all; that is), thus the awesome “mature” rating.

Anyway, this latest hardcover edition caps the enthralling Fatale series. It actually answers many of the burning questions and issues that started in the premier chapter. It is thicker and loaded lots of so many interesting articles about literary history, Sean’s great artworks, and Ed’s notes as brief explanations. True Brubaker and Philips fans; and serious readers and lovers of Lovecraft, noir and suspense should get this! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Paul Ramos

 


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