Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
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.
The title of the issue “The Replacement Blond,” refers to Maya, an actress waiting for her big break,
Maya and Thursby are polar opposites but they share one common goal: they will do anything it takes to ensure the film moves forward, and that they each remain involved. Thursby who wields immense power in Hollywood, reflects on his voluptuous past, wishing he could go return to the life he once knew; meanwhile Maya longs to escape her demeaning past and climb up the ladder of success. Thursby is a man who was once happy and free, only now he seems trapped by the studio system. In a way, he probably feels just as trapped as his actors do. The third issue slowly begins to pull the curtain back, revealing a chilling noir tale about murder, immorality, gender roles, lust, greed and the position of women in the early 20th century.
Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been collaborating for fifthteen years now, and it is easy to see why. Phillips’ art perfectly conveys the events within Brubaker’s script, making this partnership the best in modern comics. The Fade Out has set an incredibly high bar for itself, but there’s no doubt Phillips and Brubaker are up to the task in surpassing expectations.
– Ricky D