Brubaker and Phillips continue their string of excellence, with another strong issue of Fatale, and man, this storyline is possibly the darkest thing they’ve done yet, as Josephine goes way too far.
We open once again with Nicolas Lash’s increasingly fucked-up life, as he goes on the run with the mysterious (and crazy) Nelson. All seems to be going well, until they reach their destination, a warehouse, but uh-oh, a bunch of those creepy sunglass demon dudes are there. Nelson surprisingly makes quick work of killing them, but as they begin to load up the contents of the warehouse into the back of a van, Nicolas drops one… and it contains new copies of Dominic Raines’ book. Who is Nelson? Why does he have this book? Yet more mysteries to go on the pile, and it just adds to the feeling that, in Fatale, you can never trust anyone.
Bru and Phillips then take us back to 90s Seattle, as Jo continues to just fuck with the lives of everyone around her. The psycho cop, Wulf, on top of killing and dismembering Jo’s friend, has now read some magical tomes, and is beginning to see the Lovecraftian horrors creeping at the edge of the world, which is obviously only going to make him even more of a psychopath.
As for Jo/Jane and the band, she’s now joining Lance and Jon on their bank robberies, and due to her powers, they are able to pull them off without a hitch, as the men who work at the bank will do whatever she says. All of the band are besotted with Jo, even if she has only slept with two of them, but there’s an immensely creepy scene where both Jon and Skip watch as she and Lance have sex. That pays off big time later on in the issue, but first, the set-up for something I’m very excited to see. The band’s music video, and their plans to put Jo in it, which is bound to have terrible consequences, I can’t wait to see how it all goes down.
But first up, that terrible pay off. Skip has been driven crazy by the fact that Jo has slept with everyone except him, so he tries to rape her, but then she uses her powers to tell him to stop… and then kill himself. Which he does. He walks right up to the toilet bowl and drowns himself. This was deeply disturbing to say the least, and it’s a heck of a cliffhanger. It’s probably the darkest thing we’ve seen Jo do in this series, because it’s a Jo who doesn’t really know who she is.
On top of all of this fucked-up stuff, Bishop is back on the scene, he’s blind, he’s old, he’s burnt-to-shit, and he can sense that Jo is unguarded. Oh man, the next few issues of this title should be amazing. I’m loving how each arc of this title can kind of standalone, and Brubaker can kill off as many characters as he wants, and just keep going, with Jo, Bishop and Nic in the present still around as constants.
Sean Phillips’ art was of course perfectly attuned to Brubaker’s writing, but then again, you already know that. I should just write a default sentence now and copy-paste it every time there’s a new issue of Fatale or Criminal or whatever out, save myself time from repeating what’s obvious, that these two guys are just a perfect team.