- Series: Fatale (Book 3)
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Image Comics (July 9, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607067439
- ISBN-13: 978-1607067436
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fatale Volume 3: West of Hell Paperback – July 9, 2013
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As this Eisner-nominated series about an immortal—or is she?—femme continues, the narrative does even more time traveling, leaving behind a film-noir feel and edging closer to pure horror. The four stories here focus on the antiheroine’s search for self-knowledge as we follow her and her predecessors through Dust Bowl Texas, medieval France, the Wild West, and WWII Europe. Tantalizing hints about the forces that spawned her and the unseen, Lovecraftian world that surrounds her are planted throughout the pages like so much delicious nerd bait. (Parsing various quotes and influences will prove irresistible to many readers.) Taken individually, these tales are terrifically told, with the dialogue and drawings working in perfect tandem, as befits Brubaker and Phillips’ productive partnership. For all her power over men, though, Jo (or Mathilda, or Bonnie) often finds herself in need of a Y-chromosome-assisted rescue. One wonders about the dramatic possibilities should she, in a longer narrative, take fuller control over her destiny. Series fans will be eager to find out where and when she goes next. --Keir Graff
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In short, different readers have read it differently: some having Josephine be all three women who are immoral and have power over men, and some reading it is as convergent lives. The ambiguity seems deliberate particularly as Philips has the character design move closer and closer to Josephine as we know her. We know Josephine goes by many names, and we know she is referred by squid faced demons as "the Consort" and Alfred Ravenbrock later says that Josephine isn't aware of what she is. Furthermore, there are some men immune to her but Brubeck never goes into why.
Brudeck's mythology here becomes harder to decide if it is merely confused or if it trying to keep mystery up for the readers interest. I suspect a little of both. I miss the Nicholas Lash framing story, but I also appreciate what Brubeck and Philips were attempting here.
The basic story combines a classic noir tale of the beautiful seductive damsel in distress with a Lovecraftian horror saga which spans centuries. The first two collections introduced us to Josephine or Jo who is the femme fatale. The protagonist is Nicholas Lash. Years ago, Nicholas's father was a photographer who had worked with a newspaper reporter, Dominic Raines. Raines after leaving the reporting game in the 1950's became a successful crime/noir novelist. Upon his death Nicholas was left as the executor. In going through the estate he finds an unpublished manuscript of Raines and meets Jo. The substance of the manuscript is based on events in the 1950's and are intercut with the contemporary world where Nicholas is drawn to helping Jo who is being pursued by a murderous cult.
This third collection jumps the time line further back into the past and shows us a much earlier versions of Jo - one in medieval Europe, one in the west just before the turn of the century and one in the 1930's. Each tale is self contained and at first may be confusing because they don't seem to directly advance the tale as established in the first two collections but please bear with the creators. They are laying the background for the concluding collections four and five and the details found here are important clues of what is really going on: the nature and limits of Jo's power, the nature of the cultists, and what might be the endgame.
Because it is setting the stage for the later sections it can seem jarring when compared to the earlier rapid pace tales which were in a sense a long chase - but it is worth it.
What I liked about this volume it almost answered the questions we've had about Josephine in the past books. We now know that she is not alone in who she is and what she can do; there are other women who have the power to control men. I liked how the stories were put together. Ed Brubaker is good at story telling.
The thing I didn't like about this book and the reason I gave it a lower rating then the others, was for the fact it was too short. I felt like this need one or two more women like Jo to show the Femme Fatale is a recurring thing in the past. This would have been better if it was a stand-alone graphic novel, rather than within the series.
Overall, this was a good book and so far a perfect series. If you're new two Fatale and want to start read it, this book is a good place to start. Trust me: Josephine has the power to control men just as Ed Brubaker has the power to control his reader. We're under Jo's spell.
But, due to the Byzantine nature of comic book distrbution, I missed more issues thani recieved.
WOW. whata story.