Fatale Book 1: Death Chases Me

fatale book 1 death chases me cover trade paperback
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10

Great looking noire style story

Sometimes just wish it avoided the whole occult and just focused on the femme fatale

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Fatale

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Ed Brubaker

Artist:  Sean Phillips

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2012


Fatale #1

Reprints Fatale #1-5 (January 2012-May 2012).  Dominic “Hank” Raines dies leaving his belongings to his godson Nicolas Lash.  At the funeral, Nicolas meets a mysterious woman named Jo, and Jo claims her grandmother had a relationship with Dominic in the ’50s.  When Nicolas discovers an unpublished manuscript by Raines, he finds himself the target of unearthly creatures.  Protected by Josephine, the event costs him his leg, but also leads him to dive into Dominic’s past.  There, Nicolas discovers a woman named Josephine who came into Dominic’s life seeking help from a dirty cop named Walter…but Josephine isn’t what she seems and Dominic has made himself a target.

Written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips, Fatale Book 1:  Death Chases me collects the first five issue story arc of the acclaimed Image series.  A big hit with critics and fans, the supernatural noire story was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.

I’m a big fan of noire style literature like The Maltese Falcon and The Postman Always Rings Twice.  Generally set in the seedy side of California, Fatale follows this trend.  Here, San Francisco (like The Maltese Falcon) is backdrop for Brubaker’s story and Brubaker brings in the classic femme fatale character in Josephine…but then things start to get weird.

Instead of simply being a noire story, Fatale is a supernatural thriller jumping from present day to the 1950s to even earlier.  The genre meshing works in the series, but as a lover of the genres separately, I kind sometimes find myself longing for either genre instead of the blending.


Fatale #4

Josephine seems like an interesting character and I realize that one of effect of the bending of genres has is that she can be more fleshed out than the stock femme fatale character.  Instead of just being the standard “good” or “evil” or somewhere in between character that peppers the genre, she has a supernatural backstory that is open for exploration and makes her even more unclear as to her goodness.

The story without the supernatural would be pretty flimsy and dull.  The male characters are typical flawed noire characters and the story of cultists isn’t fully developed (but obviously is going to be fleshed out in further stories).  I think Bishop is a good villain, but I would have loved someone even a bit more distinctive…kind of a crazy Dick Tracy style gangster.  I also find myself wanting to go back to the Nicolas story more than Brubaker takes you there.

Fatale Book 1:  Death Chases Me is definitely one to check out.  It has some minor flaws, but the flaws make it almost more interesting and inspire you to read on.  Originally intended to be a twelve issue series, the comic has been given an open run so there is plenty of room to explore.  Fatale Book 1:  Death Chases Me is followed by Fatale Book 2:  The Devil’s Business.

Related Links:

Fatale Book 2:  The Devil’s Business

Fatale Book 3:  West of Hell

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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