Friday, April 25, 2014

Fatale: West of Hell TPB

I’m not sure if I’m being obtuse, or if Ed Brubaker is being purposely vague. I’m not sure if the titular Fatale is immortal, or if multiple women throughout time have served the same role as our current story. 

This entire trade is made up of interludes showing strange women with an amazing influence over men. We get medieval times, the 1930’s, the 1880’s, and the 1940’s. The story plays out in a similar fashion in each time period. Strange men (or un-men) are hunting our heroine, she allies with some strange guys (who may or may not be able to resist her influence), and we fade to black.

This is an effective tragedy, and it is a great work of world-building. Clearly this is some sort of immortal battle that has raged on for a long time. It sure seems like the cultists are hunting the Fatales in order to sacrifice the women to some dark, Cthullian entity. What happens then? I’m not exactly clear. There also isn’t a direct connection to the story taking place in the present.

While I find myself very interested and invested in each tale printed in this trade, I’m having an extremely hard time remember what the greater plot is. I think I might have to re-read some of the earlier volumes before I move on to book 4. I’m just not clear on what Brubaker is trying to say here.

Sean Phillips can hop from era to era and not bat an eye. Fatale maintains her look, but with time-appropriate fashions, and every single one of the supporting male protectors looks like he could star in a film version of the story. The gore is very startling and striking, but never over the top (well, not too much.) I also love it when Phillips gets to draw the REALLY crazy stuff, like the weird bird-ghost slicing up some dude in the woods. Those scenes in the haunted forest are my favorite in the trade.

So this is still a very GOOD series, I just worry I’ve lost track of the overall plot! 

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