Wednesday, 15 August 2012

So I Read Fatale: Death Chases Me

A 250 word (or less) review of Fatale: Book 1
By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Image Comics

Fatale is the story of Nicolas Lash, the godson of dead crime novelist Dominic “Hank” Raines, who becomes ensnared in the Lovecraftian Horror world of the mysterious Jo, the titled femme fatale. Fatale is also the story of a young Hank Raines as his journalism brings him into contact with crooked cops, twisted cultists, and a dangerous dame named Josephine decades earlier. Like most of Burbaker and Phillips’ collaborations Fatale makes use of the conventions and motifs of Crime Noir to tell their story. However, Fatale also utilizes the mythos and some of the tropes of Lovecraftian horror fiction: generational guilt, madness, a sort of alien (weird alien, not ET alien) threat that exists on the margins of society/civilization, and tentacles. The result is basically Lovecraftian-Noir or Crime-Horror. I really like it: it’s well executed, sylish and fun. It’s also an effective and clever way to tell a Lovecraftian story. The two things that really stood out to me when reading some of HP Lovecraft’s fiction were the utter conviction of the authors voice (as seen through the narrator) and the way the supernatural is stretched out with all kinds of mundane little details, usually in the guise of an academic document, journal or correspondence. These make the horror elements tangible and create a dissonance with the ordinary world. By hanging Fatale on a Crime Noir skeleton, Brubaker and Phillips ground the story in something familiar and relatable to the audience which makes the supernatural elements all the more effective.1

Word Count: 250

1: Also: the idea of criminals as remote from society (as oppsed to rural, physical remoteness in Lovecrafts work) is pretty cool.

So I Read Coward
So I Read Lawless
So I Read The Dead and the Dying

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