Well everybody, this is it. This. Is. It. Not the Michael Jackson documentary, no, this is the FINAL issue of the critically acclaimed horror-pulp-noir, decade-spanning tale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Obviously this isn't a good starting point but it is one hell of an ending point for a series that has been consistently good for a little over two years. The creative team creates an ending that is exciting, but most importantly, super satisfying.
Issue 24 opens up with a morbid bedtime story being told to Nick, an element bringing everything full circle from the beginning of the series as Uncle Donnie fills Nick's head with the familiar story that we'll come to know. A story that will be the bane of Nick's existence. Brubaker does a great job of giving us this peek into the early life of Nick, and Phillips switches his art up for a Crusade-era style that really gets the fairy tale point across. As we all know, Grimm's Fairy Tales weren't the polished, choreographed stories that we get from Disney. These fairy tales were...well...grim, dark, and often terrifying.
Brubaker and Phillips continue their cinematic flair with the panels on display. Oftentimes changing camera angles and perspectives. With the omniscient narration throughout, we get an insight into the fear that the characters feel. And when it gets dizzying, when we get thrust back into the cosmic bleed where the old gods lay, Phillips shines with some crazy panel layouts. Elizabeth Bretweiser joins them once again on colors and just complements the story being told wonderfully.
This is actually an extra-sized issue with a very good reason. Every page is executed with efficiency and there aren't any wasted pages. It makes the experience that much more satisfying since we get to do a little time jump towards the end to the bittersweet ending that we have all come to expect of a Brubaker/Phillips tale.
Fatale is the series that really got me into loving stories that marry noir and horror. And goodness, was it a beautiful marriage. I constantly compare the sudden influx of horror-noir issues to this series because to me, Brubaker and co. really set the bar. With a series page count that reached a total of 586, I can only imagine how much better the experience will be once the full collection comes out. As mentioned before, there is quite a bit of omniscient narration and exposition so every issue tends to be relatively dense. Filled with background stories and nuances that, speaking for myself, I overlooked and simply forgotten through the months.
But if read in a continuous fashion, it will be even that much more rewarding once you reach the end of Nick and Josephine's story. I am in love with this series. I highly recommend it and I promise, once you start on it you'll be just as entranced with the story as the poor sons-of-bitches that had the unfortunate privilege of coming across the irresistible Josephine.