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Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me Paperback – July 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Fatale Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The top-notch team of Brubaker and Phillips (known for their collaborations on Criminal and Sleeper) launch another series that gives familiar tropes an entertaining tweak. In present time, Nicolas Lash, executor of author Dominic Raines’ estate, discovers an unpublished manuscript mere moments before shotgun-toting bad guys pull up out front. Then Jo, a woman he met at the funeral, appears out of nowhere to rescue him. Jump back to San Francisco, 1956, and we’re witnessing events from Raines’ book, starting with a young reporter trying to get a scoop from a beautiful woman about her corrupt-cop boyfriend. But any resemblance to standard detective fare ends there, as the creators mix in magic, cults, human sacrifice, and the possibility of eternal life to create a potent cocktail with any number of twists. Brubaker doesn’t write a word more than necessary, and Phillips’ scenery has all the right angles, evoking a film-noir feel without slavish imitation. If the words “last call” make you think of “The Call of Cthulu,” this is your kind of hard-boiled tale. --Keir Graff


Publisher's Weekly:
Fatale: Book One (Death Chases Me)
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Image (Diamond, dist.), $14.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-60706-563-0
The minute Nicolas Lash encounters Jo, femme fatale extraordinaire with more dark secrets than Faust, things go from bad to worse in this captivating noir. Occult forces and gut-wrenching horror collide in 1950s San Francisco, as a corrupt cop and a smitten reporter go toe-to-toe over Jo, an ageless beauty with the looks of a Vargas girl and the heart of a rattle snake, who is desperate to escape the grasp of a satanic cult and their demonic, shape-shifting leader. Graced with a suspenseful plot that has more twists and turns than an alpine road, and deliberately understated artwork, Fatale boasts both intrigue and an atmosphere that feels as densely bleak as a San Francisco mist at the tip of Fisherman's Wharf at dawn. Colorist Dave Stewart deserves special mention for his subtle, highly evocative use of neutral tones and earthy shades. This is a universe of darkness and gray shadows, and the palette perfectly fits the angst-ridden, desolate, catch-22 world of supernatural horror the protagonists must face-off against. Immortality may be a double-edged sword, but it's one the intoxicating Jo wields with a boundless grace in this addictive page-turner. (July)


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics; First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607065630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607065630
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Blue Thunder Bomb VINE VOICE on July 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
The character of the 'femme fatale' has been a trope of crime fiction and film noir since the genres began. She is the beautiful, irresistable woman that all of the protagonists fall for, kill for and die for. This as an idea is not new, and it's something that the creative team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have used before to great success in titles like SLEEPER and CRIMINAL, just to name a few. However, with the latest collaboration between the two, Image's FATALE, they have crafted a tale about a particualr femme fatale that is 60% pulp noir, 40% supernatural Lovecraftian horror, and 100% brilliant.

The tale in the present with one of our protagonists, Nicolas Lash, going to the funeral of his godfather Dominic Raines, a not-entirely-successful detective novelist. At the funeral, he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman named Josephine. He is immediately taken with her. He later goes to his godfather's old broken-down estate that was left to him and he finds an unpublished manuscript that puts his life in immediate danger. Lash is saved by the unexpected appearance of Josephine, but this is just the beginning of the danger for them. The unpublished manuscript is a hard-boiled crime novel that takes us back to the 1950's. It's about a crusading reporter, the two crooked cops he's trying to expose, bizarre and deadly cult murders, and a mysterious and beautiful woman that not only has a hold on one of the corrupt cops, but on the reporter as well.

Of course, the mysterious woman in the novel is Josephine, at the same age as she is in the present. She is presented as someone wounded and hounded, but who is predatory herself. She seems to avail herself to men with her own purposes and desires using not just her feminine wiles, but something not quite natural.
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Format: Paperback
An unpublished manuscript, a dead author, a mysterious woman. A corrupt cop, a cheating wife who manipulates a reporter, a cult. Self-mutilation, ritual sacrifices. The story Fatale tells is strange, intricate, perhaps convoluted, but never dull. It's sort of a dark mystery wrapped in a tale of the supernatural with a side dish of soap opera. You might have to read it a couple of times before it all comes together, and even then the story doesn't seem to know quite what it wants to be: a crime story, a horror story, a supernatural heroine story. Not that it matters -- the writing is sharp and there's enough action and intrigue to move events along at a brisk pace.

The artwork has a noir feel, nicely tinted in blues and purples except for the splashes of blood red when the story turns to gore. Characters are drawn realistically but they're stylized at the same time -- which is a pretty good trick. The art consistently held my attention even when the story seemed to be searching for an identity. Perhaps subsequent issues will bring the characters into sharper focus.
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Fatale, Book 1, Death Chases Me is the first book in a series almost four years old, which is damn near ancient for an independent comic. Collecting the first five issues of Fatale, Death Chases Me blends horror, mystery, and noir, telling the story of Nicolas Lash, a present-day family friend of a dead novelist, who meets an ageless woman. And in 1956, that same woman meets reporter Hank Raines, the aforementioned novelist who looks to find out her secret, and why people around her often turn up dead.

This title sat on my shelf for over a year before I finally read it; a lot of good books do. Hell, I never read The Brothers Karamazov until a few weeks ago, and I was inspired to try this book after reading The Fade Out, a terrific series also by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. The first book of Fatale isn't as good as The Fade Out's first book, but it's wonderful and different on its own, and I will continue to read it. ****1/2
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Format: Paperback
You may not think that HP Lovecraft and Mickey Spillane would have hit it off if they'd met, but after reading Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' FATALE BOOK 1: DEATH CHASES ME, I think that the two literary legends might have sketched out some pretty interesting ideas. Perhaps having this story presented in comic format is the extra step that makes it work. Whatever the case, Brubaker and Phillips have combined ancient horror and hard-boiled crime fiction in an engrossing story that has left me wanting more, and as I've gotten into this title fairly late in the game, there are already three additional softcover collections to keep me busy.

Nicolas Lash has a problem: he's become inextricably involved with Josephine, a beautiful woman with a dark secret. His second encounter with her almost costs him his life, yet he can't get her out of his head. Through some investigating, he learns that Josephine was also involved with a friend of his father way back in the `50s, as well as with a G.I. in WWII (and possibly even further back), and all the while never looking any different than she does now. As the narrative jumps between the various time periods, it is slowly revealed that Jo is on the run from something horrible, and as things never seem to end well for the men in her life, Nicolas may not make it to the next volume.

Ed Brubaker has risen to the top of the writers' field due to his work on high-profile superhero titles, and part of what makes his style so popular is how he eschews the standard theatrics in favor of stripped-down storytelling that gets to the root of the character. It's something that is much more obvious in his crime titles, and it's on brilliant display in FATALE.
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