Fatale may look like the type of noir story that Brubaker and Phillips have built their artistic partnership on, but this is not a noir mystery. The horror that pervades this series, the evil of a world trying to wash over everything good and pure, is new ground for this team. Brubaker writes stories about bad men and women, but it’s rare that he writes about a rotten world. Fatale is a story of victims. There are no heroes in this series as Josephine and Nicolas fight just for their own survival. Brubaker and Phillips’ Fatale stumbles as it attempts to tell a story through multiple timelines but their story about survival and obsession shows the versatility that this team possesses to tell any kind of story.
Cullen Bunn is unique. If nothing else can be said about him, he is certainly unique. The Empty Man shows the full extent of Bunn’s ability. The series focuses on two detectives as they struggle to sort out the mystery surrounding a series of suspicious deaths and murders. The deaths are connected by the strange hallucinations experienced by the perpetrators, as well as their last words “The Empty Man made me do it”. The Empty Man is unpredictable because it follows so very few tropes. Nothing like this series has been seen before, and readers will be asking themselves the same question over and over: Who is the Empty Man? (Or “What the F*ck?”).
With issue #3, The Fade Out moves away from beaten-down protagonists Charlie Parish, shifting its spotlight on new characters while more familiar faces slide into the background. Using unexpected flashbacks and unique third-person narration, Brubaker reveals the complicated personalities of two additional characters at the opposite end of the Hollywood spectrum. The focus here is on Mr. Thursby (head of Victory Street Pictures who has been doing everything in his power to silence the true nature of Valeria Sommers’ death), and Maya Silver (a young actress hoping to replace Valeria’s lead role in an upcoming film). Ed Brubaker shows us more of the dirty side of the film industry, capturing the various power struggles and moral dilemmas that come with seeking fame and fortune. The scope of this series gets wider making it another winning chapter of a truly great comic.
Using the murder of a Hollywood starlet as a catalyst to expose the web of dark secrets that runs through the City of Angels, the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have put together the most intriguing comic of 2014. Brubaker & Phillips’ new crime noir is just getting started but it is already destined to be a cult classic. Brubaker’s name has been synonymous with the noir genre from the very start of his career, but The Fade Out is different from his books that came before it. Set in the Hollywoodland era of the 1940s, with painstaking attention to historical detail, The Fade Out relishes in classic Hollywood tropes – so much so that every page looks like a storyboard from an Anthony Mann film. The Fade Out is clearly, a labor of love from its creative team who go the extra mile by assembling a series of supplementary content that really helps readers get into the mind set of the time.
Modern noir masterminds Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips begin their five-year deal with Image with the release of the first issue of The Fade Out, a sprawling saga of corruption and redemption set against a gritty West Coast backdrop. As the premiere storytellers of crime/noir comics, Fade Out actually marks their first trip into Hollywoodland, the never-innocent city of illusions. The Fade Out sees them return to the familiar conventions of ‘classic’ crime noir, and weaves a tangled web through the underbelly of a 1940’s film industry.