In amongst all of the surprise and excitement over Brubaker and Phillips signing exclusive contracts with Image, one little fact seems to have gone under the radar… that Fatale is set to end with #24. With only 5 issues left after this one, we’re really in the endgame now, and with this issue, Bru sets that up. The story of Jo in Seattle comes to an end, and the present-day framing sequences with Nicolas Lash take another dark turn. I know a lot of people haven’t liked Fatale as much as previous Brubaker/Phillips’ collaborations, but I have, so whilst I’m sad to see it come to an end, I’m very excited to see what that ending entails.
Back in 90s Seattle, everyone is reeling after the events of #18, where Amsterdam attempted to film a music video starring Jo and inadvertently caused a bit of a riot. Jo has ran away, getting on a train to Chicago, and the band themselves are freaking out, worried that the Cops are going to come to their house and find the dead body of Skip. One particular Cop does come around, and you guessed it, it’s Wulf, the serial killer who is obsessed with Jo. Somehow, she senses he’s going to attack her friends, so she comes back, but it’s too late, he’s already killed Darcy, Tom and Jon, and he’s about to sacrifice Lance in some kind of creepy way. I guess the runes on Lance’s body are what drew Jo back? I think so anyway. Jo is able to kill Wulf, and she and Lance escape to the middle of nowhere.
The story of the band is all over the media, and Lance is being blamed for it, he’s set up as a Satanist who killed his fellow bandmembers. Jo tries to help him out of his funk, even sleeping with him for one last time, but he seems irreparably damaged, and she leaves, just one more fucked-up man in her wake.
There is a loose end here, and it’s the whereabouts of the videotape of Jo’s music video. It turns out that Sommerset/Bishop owns the record label, so he has it in his possession. I’m surprised we didn’t get a bit more of confrontation between him and Jo in this arc, but I imagine that he, and the music video, will play a large role in the final storyline.
The issue ends back in the present day, with Nelson taking Nicolas to their final destination, and it turns out that, as I think many people suspected, Nelson is actually Lance, and he’s even crazier than before. He’s going to do the same thing to Nicolas that Wulf did to him back in the 90s, and carve runes on him and call Jo to him, so he can see her one last time. I think it’s very cool how the Seattle story is a lot more closely linked to the present-day stuff than the other arcs, obviously it’s more recent, but with the 1970s arc, everyone affected by Jo pretty much died. Here, the sins of the past really are coming for her, which is basically what Noir is.
Sean Phillips’ art was amazing as always, and really, things are set up very nicely indeed for the final arc. I’m very excited that Brubaker and Phillips are committed to working together at Image for the foreseeable future, they are one of the best teams in comics, and I will read whatever they do.