Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: Criminal, Ed Brubaker, Fatale, Image Comics, Incognito, Noir, Occult, Sean Phillips, Sleeper
Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips collaborate on one of the hottest titles of 2012 so far…..and we’re still only in January. An opening line like “So here’s how my life went off the tracks one day,” sets us up for a typical noir tale that we’ve seen in the likes of Criminal. Sleeper and Incognito from the pairing previously….although reading on, there’s clearly different elements involved here too.
Opening with our main character, Nicholas Lash, attending his godfather’s funeral and meeting the mysterious Jo, whose grandmother was involved with the deceased….but that’s where this noir crime thriller with a difference starts to draw us in. From here we’re switching from gritty narration and flowing into moments of action and intrigue with ease…..and if anything, that’s the magic of this title. How involving it is, as much by the mastery in Ed Brubaker’s writing as the artwork by Sean Phillips, which contributes just as much to the story.
We’re thrust into Nicholas looking through his godfather’s belongings discovering one of his first novels….a previously unpublished works and an insight into some more mysteries we’re stumbling across. A big distraction from this discovery is the hired thugs descending on the place and forcing Nicholas to consider the “RUN THE FUCK AWAY” option. Only to discover the mysterious Jo in the house and armed ready to help him escape.
A few choice shots later and the pair are making good their escape……..only the fact that a plane is chasing them in kamikaze fashion stops them and 5-days later Nicholas wakes up in a hospital bed….missing a leg. A hefty start for a comic book for sure….and we’re not even half way in.
We get to flashback to San Francisco in 1956 and we see a fresh-faced Jo meeting with Nicholas’ godfather in his job as a reporter. From here it gets even more complex as Jo is involved with a local detective….whose war-record holds secrets of Nazi’s and magic. He’s working a case which also has deep connections to his previously experienced dealings with the occult and we get to the end of the 1st issue with more questions than answers. If anything, that’s the only flaw in this 1st issue……we’re just getting involved when it ends…..leaving us with more questions than answers and an inner NEED to get hold of issue #2. If you’ve read Phillips & Brubakers work before….you’re still in for a welcome break from their usual style. A quick search online will let you know that this is a tale that Brubaker has tried to write before and only feels he’s got it down for releasing now and I for one am glad that he has.
There’s ALOT to be said for the art on show here too……at first glance it could be viewed as subtle and simple….but taking a closer look, you’ll see the details that Phillips has managed to inject, the kind of detail that lets you know the art is much a key part of telling the story as the narrative/speech is.
Having sold out and gone to a 2nd print….I’d URGE you to get hold of this title….and get into it from the very beginning. It’s a noir thriller with a hint of magic and the occult…..some unexpected twists and turns along the way…..and all wrapped up in the 1st gritty, glowing issue. Brubaker and Phillips have started us on a journey here……and I’m in for the duration after just the first issue.
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