Wednesday, 13 November 2013

So I Read Fatale: West of Hell

A 250 word (or less) review of the third Fatale collection
By Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips, Elizabeth Breitweiser, and Dave Stewart

Fatale is Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips excellent Lovecraftain Horror, Noir Crime comic about Josephine, a woman cursed to be a literal femme fatale. Jo has been gifted with seemingly eternal youth and the ability to influence the men around her, but with the price that she eventually drives the majority of them insane and inevitably brings them to ruin. The core story of the series is a sort of crime comic about Jo's relationship to Nick Lash, a young man with a family history tied to Jo and knotted with her curse. West of Hell shifts the focus away from this main story and instead shows us some of Jo's backstory as well as tales of other women afflicted with her curse. Basically, it is really gripping background for the series that reveals some of the mysterious forces in play. But beyond that, West of Hell dose some really neat things with its core concepts. Fatale is, as much as anything, a meditation and exploration of the archetypical character of the femme fatale. By setting its chapters in different settings: a traditional Lovecraftian horror story, a medieval witch/fairy tale, a western, and a war story; West of Hell displays how the femme fatale and heroines in general function within genre fiction. And beyond that, the comic shows how character tropes can transfer between subgenres and function in different milieus. Fatale: West of Hell is pretty damn clever and a great collection of comics.

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