Fatale: A Slow On The Draw Review

August 23rd, 2015 | by Rob Ayers
Fatale: A Slow On The Draw Review

Have any of you heard of these two guys Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips, and this thing they do called Fatale? They’re not too shabby!

In Praise Of The Authors:

Exaggerated opening aside, I love when I see just one of those names on a cover, let alone when they’re both on the same one; which to our extreme benefit, has happened often in the last few years. Each series –  Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito, and now Fatale, all of them masterpieces of character-driven, noir style storytelling.


I’ve been an undying fan of both creators for a long time. It seems like they’ve always been present in the comic-consciousness, leaning against some dingy, damp wall by the underbelly of the industry, but always welcome to inject their wares into the mainstream from the shadows.

It was Sean Phillips’ painted covers for Vertigo that hooked me first, and then I saw his interiors in an issue of Doom Patrol, written by Grant Morrison, and lost my mind. Be it covers or interior pencils & inks, Sean’s work is always solid and unique and always stands out from average contemporaries in the best way possible.

Now days, I think it’s an arguable point that Phillips’ natural style has, over the last 20 years, become the fashionable, trendy technique for most books on the shelves these days, especially at Marvel. Sean still continues to lead the pack. His work is always a win for us, the readers; not to mention the multitude of artists he’s inspired or influenced – myself included.

With Ed Brubaker, I learned to remember his name during his short run on Batman in 2001, and then I started reflexively scanning comic shop shelves for his name after becoming addicted to Gotham Central in 2003. After that I grabbed whatever comic his name appeared on, be it Marvel, DC or Dark Horse back issues – anything. I went on to add his name to the Top 5 list of writers I would strive be the artist for at some point in my glorious future.

Screencap this article people. It’s gonna be a collector’s item when Ed Brubaker is accepting yet another Best Writer award and drops my name at the mic.

But I digress…

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We’re here to talk about Fatale. So, it’s no secret I consume the heck out of anything with Brubaker’s and/or Phillips’ name on it, so why is Fatale showing up in a Slow on the Draw review?

Because I’ve been super busy leading a weird, crazy life, and sometimes that results in regretful peccadillos such as missing something you desperately would rather not miss.

Luckily for me, the good people at Image Comics saw it fit to publish, print & distribute Fatale all over the world.

Thanks Image, you’re a lifesaver!

I only recently, finally, picked up all five trade paperback, and burned through them as soon as I got home. Then once more, a little slower, and now I’m reading them one more time just to be sure I get every lovely point of ink put on every page by two master storytellers.

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The story unfolds effortlessly, as it does in every separate tale of the Criminal series, as well as both minis of Incognito, but one soon realizes this story is shifting gears at unexpected speeds.

We’re not following this poor, affable, lovesick schlub as he burns his own life down for a dame. We’re following the accelerant he used to do so, the dame herself. Now time is moving sideways on us and things are getting even darker- who knew that was possible in a Brubaker/Phillips book – and we see there’s a complete world behind these deep shadows where even philosophical horrors & mythological doctrines have their leashes & collars & controlling hands they must refrain from biting.

Everything gets weirder than they’ve ever been when Ed & Sean are driving the boat. They somehow let the cabalistic and the noir bleed together in such a way as to create a femme-fatale/damsel-in-distress/supernatural thriller” hybrid.

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Storytelling at large is changed forever. At least for me.

I really missed out on this one and I’m incredibly pleased to have finally caught up to the pack on Fatale.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, do yourself a huge favor and pick it up. You’ll be kicking yourself mercilessly, but you’ll have an incredible series to read while your bruises fade & heal.

Let me know what you think about Fatale, Ed & Sean, or anything you think shouldn’t be missed by one who’s slow on the draw like me.

See you in a week or so.


Rob Ayers is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @S_R_Ayers

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