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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:57 pm

Eli Katz wrote:No reviews, no bickering, no Fourthy-Punchy-type battles.

Clearly, the RG is in decline.

Fourthy hasn't posted in months, and we don't need his madness.
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Eli Katz


Postby Eli Katz » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:11 pm

Well, we need something to boost the level of participation and interest in Review Group 2.0.
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Son of Stein

Postby Amoebas » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Well, we need something to boost the level of participation and interest in Review Group 2.0.

Hey, I tried making some fun here, but Punchy sucked all the joy out of that.
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Eric Ratcliffe

Staff Writer

Postby Eric Ratcliffe » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:47 am

Amoebas wrote:Hey, I tried making some fun here, but Punchy sucked all the joy out of that.

I read the book in question but I refuse to participate in the group because Punchy was all up tight about your cleverness.

Besides I think if I do a review it would be better suited for my column which is something Punchy doesn't and will never get a say in.
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S.F. Jude Terror


Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:56 am

So I'm now all caught up, and my perfect New Review Group record stands.

Fatale #1 was a hard boiled comic. I don't buy into the hype of a lot of modern "crime" books, because despite a real love of hard boiled fiction, I find it's a style often attempted but usually executed on a mediocre level.

Fatale delivers, thankfully. I like that it's set partially in the past. The late 50s isn't the BEST time for a hard boiled story, but it's pretty good. Men were still men back then, and they could promise to protect a dame without it sounding cheesy and contrived. Cops can call Satan worshippers nitwits and it doesn't sound silly. Brubaker did a very nice job with the tone in this book, which I guess is to be expected based on everyone's manlove for him.

The modern day story was not as good, but still serviceable. The overdone comics cliche of a streak of white in a character's black hair would annoy me if pulp wasn't meant to be full of cliches. The art wasn't bad, but the characters weren't very distinct. I'll get the next issue for sure.

Story: 8
Art: 6
Subtotal: 7
Set in San Francisco: +1
Overall: 8
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:44 am

doombug wrote:I read the book in question but I refuse to participate in the group because Punchy was all up tight about your cleverness.

Besides I think if I do a review it would be better suited for my column which is something Punchy doesn't and will never get a say in.

You refused to participate? Oh what a moral stand you take, you're a modern day Gandhi.
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Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:54 pm

I had high hopes for this book but the disjointed story telling and little overall narrative makes this book a mess for me. Maybe I just don't get it but as I always point out when we review a bru/phillips book Sleeper made sense and it often jumped around back and forth. It also happens to be one of the best books ever but that's neither here nor there. The art here is still great but that doesn't make up for the bizarre storytelling, I honestly can't tell if there are 2 or 3 stories happening and none of them were given a real chance to bloom enough for me to find it enjoyable.

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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:26 am

Read this today, I'll need to read it again before I review.
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Outhouse Editor

Postby DeadFett » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:01 am

As a big fan of Brubaker's work, especially with Philips, I had been anticipating this since it was announced. However, after two readings, it wasn't the pure awesomeness I expected. I guess it's because I expected it to have a very similar feel to Criminal and Incognito. And with the era it is set in along with some of the characters it does have that feel but the horror aspect came from left field for me. I'm onboard for the long haul with since the creators have a good record for me. I am curious to see where it goes regarding Nicolas, Jo and the manuscript he was almost killed for possessing. Obviously there is a connection between Jo and the character Josephine from the manuscript. It will be interesting to see how it all connects.

Philips was great here as always. His style fits Brubaker's pulp writing wonderfully. It's almost always a perfect combination.

Story - 7
Art - 10
Overall - 8.5
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:26 am

Fatale #1 - 'Book One: Death Chases Me' - Brubaker and Phillips

Story - At this stage, I think everyone pretty much knows what to expect from a collaboration between Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. They expect a crime noir story of the highest calibre, with fantastic art, great characters and plenty of exciting plot twists. But they also expect that Noir to be shaken up a bit, and mixed with another genre. In Incognito they threw in Pulp superheroes, in Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent they threw in a meditation on nostalgia and how dangerous it can be. Brubaker and Phillips have moved somewhat beyond telling simple pot-boilers, they like their crime with a little something extra.

And in Fatale, that little something is horror. In this story, alongside the crooked cops, frustrated newspaper reporters and chines gangs that you'd expect from many Noir stories are the trappings of horror, there's a mysterious cult, tentacle headed monsters, Nazis meddling with the occult and most important of all, a seemingly immortal and beautiful woman. Josephine, the titular femme fatale.

Brubaker has said in interviews that this book is in many ways an exploration of what it would be like to live forever, and as such, Josephine (or Jo) is the centre of the book, which is refreshing. Most of the time the femme fatale is not the centre of a Noir, but off to the side, a temptation but never a real character. Even in less flashy ways than Lovecraftian monsters, Brubaker is tweaking the form. I felt like the most powerful scenes of this issue were the ones narrated by Josephine and her lover, Detective Booker, who has gotten older and older while she remains the same. Booker's ruminations on this were wonderfully written and almost heart-breaking.

If I was to have one problem with this book, it's that there wasn't nearly enough. I feel like we've only just scratched the surface of the story, that the use of two time-frames meant we didn't get enough of either one. I suppose that it's good that I want more, as it ensures I'll be there for #2, but it was rather unsatisfying to reach the end with the story only really just getting into gear.

Luckily this book is satisfying in other ways, a Brubaker and Phillips collaboration just feels right to me, and you know that every panel has substance and thought put behind it, and that it's the product of two fevered minds working in perfect concert. I know that any problems I have with #1 will be gone by the time the story is over. Overall, Fatale #1 is a strong start to an exciting new endeavour from one of the best creative teams in not just comics, but all storytelling mediums. Whilst I'm upset there will be no more Criminal for a while, I'm delighted to see Brubaker and Phillips try something new once again. Can we have a Western next? That would be my choice.

Art - Perfect for the story, nothing more need be said.

Best Line - 'But what good was it loving someone so perfect when you yourself were watching yourself crumble to dust every morning in the mirror?'


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