After a series of very enjoyable single issue stories, Fatale kicks off it’s third proper story arc with this issue, and it is firing on all cylinders. We start off as usual with the Nicolas Lash framing story, as he is not only being driven slightly mad by the mysteries of Dominic Raines’ book, but also gets bust out of prison by ‘Nelson’ a supposed friend of Josephine’s. I’m finding this framing story to be a very interesting through line to this series, by showing us the present and various stories from the past, we’re really seeing the scope of this story, that it’s huge. The flashback story in this issue takes us all the way back to Seattle in 1995, which is a very interesting time period I think. Nostalgia for the 1990s really seems to be a big thing at the moment, and also, the fact that 1995 is just after the grunge boom faded is a cool wrinkle. This is a Seattle that is past it’s best.
The character that runs across Jo in this time period is Lance, a member of a washed-up grunge band who has turned to bank robbery in order to fund his next album. Whilst on his getaway, he runs into a naked Josephine and of course is entangled into her magical aura. I find it interesting how each of the men who have gotten hooked into Jo in each of Fatale’s storylines are creative types involved in the media. Hank Raines was a journalist turned novelist, Miles was a movie actor, and now Lance is a rock musician. Is this story Brubaker’s treatise on the media and how creative types are susceptible to the occult? Or is it just a coincidence? I suppose with the book’s essays about famous occult fiction, it can’t be (Speaking of that, Jess Nevins’ piece about Aleister Crowley in this issue is awesome). Maybe it’s about how corrupt the entertainment business can be?
I’m very intrigued by the final page, it looks like Jo has escaped from the imprisonment of some kind of Cop/Serial Killer. I wonder if he has some connection to Bishop/Hansel, or if he’s more mundane? Each storyline of Fatale expands this world and makes it even more interesting, throw in the always-amazing artwork of Sean Phillips, and you have one of the best comics out there.