We are almost there, ladies and gentlemen! The Brubaker/Phillips Lovecraftian-Noir is one issue away from completion and the secrets have just now started to get revealed. In a gorgeous package of tight exposition and beautiful art, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips set us up for a finale where I can only imagine the world of Fatale will come crashing down.
If you did not know of the beautiful partnership that is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, these two creators have been working together and making magic for what seems like decades. From Criminal to Sleeper, these two cannot do wrong. You should know this. Blindly pick any Brubaker/Phillips book and you will not be disappointed!
Issue #22 was a pretty exposition-heavy issue and issue #23 is a bit of the same, but the presentation is done so in a way that keeps your eyes glued to the page. Brubaker takes us on a cosmic romp as Josephine reveals to Nicolas her past and essentially how she came to be. As Nicolas is learning Jo's painful past, you can really get the sense of his desperate and addicted love he has for her. He begs not to see her get hurt but he must. He has to see Jo at this time to be able to understand her.
Sean Phillips with the colors of Elizabeth Breitweiser shine in this issue. Using a diverse color palette unlike any of the other issues we have seen, we are thrust into the nightmares and the world that Jo finds herself between. Horrific visuals of girls just like Josephine who were hunted down and used by this cult and sacrificed like cattle. The panels aren't done in a traditional manner and Phillips creates these just wonderful spreads of Jo and Nicolas laying in their cosmic boudoir.
Unlike Issue #22, where the story took a more horrific turn as we received the backstory of Mr. Sommerset, our demonic antagonist. Brubaker and co. finally reveal the history of the alluring Jo, but only a glimpse. With the way the issue ends it still leaves questions to be asked and expletives to be shouted.
I love this title. I think everything about it has been a frightening, enjoyable ride. One that I can safely say has been epic as it has jumped decade to decade and balanced all these characters that have come and gone so well. This is a series that I will be sad to see end, but it feels right. And that's how you know you are reading something masterful; when the creative team know when and how to end a series. We are one issue left from the end, but I can safely say the ride up to now has been most enjoyable and I could not recommend this enough.