Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
Colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Review by Joey Braccino
Fatale’s series of reader-friendly one-shots continues with yet another genre-bending issue from the critically-acclaimed team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. So far, we’ve gone from the 1930s pulp-inspired science-fiction yarn from issue #11 to the horrors of the Middle Ages in issue #12. This time around, we’re kicking it Spaghetti Western style as Brubaker and Phillips recount the trials and tribulations of “Black” Bonnie, yet another femme fatale with supernatural gifts. Present throughout all of these time-jumping tales is this emphasis on blending both horror and noir into what would otherwise be a straight-forward genre-specific outing.
With issue #13, Brubaker and Phillips take the tale of Bonnie—running from posses, warding off bounty hunters, riding horses into the sunset, partnering up with a Native American strongman named Milkfed—and weave it together with their larger horror-mythos surrounding the supernatural qualities of the Fatale title. I won’t go too much into the plot because it is a reader-friendly one-shot, but suffice it to say that Brubaker delivers once again in terms of mixing his trademark noir-inspired narration with the gunplay, drawl, and stock characters of the Western genre.
In my book, both Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser can do no wrong. Put them together and you’ve got magic in sequential art format. Brubaker’s scripts for this series have jumped from a contemporary cityscape riddled with dark alleys and unsettling edifices to a Medieval mystical forest to the prairies of the Mid-West. Phillips—associated primarily with crime-driven comics like Brubaker’s Criminal—has managed both to perfectly capture each of these distinct settings as well as maintain his trademark shadowy aesthetic. Breitweiser plays with two color palettes here: on the one hand, she imbues Phillips’ think lines with the pulpy, solid washes that the genre calls far; on the other hand, the backgrounds (specifically the skies) feature that distinct pastel blend that I adored so much in her work on Winter Soldier. This book is something to behold visually, and I refer back to Phillips and Breitweiser’s awesomeness as the reason.
Check it. Fatale was one of the most critically lauded comics of 2012 both at Image and in the industry generally. To start 2013, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are providing not one, but FOUR genre-specific one-shots that capture the essence of their ongoing series. This time around, we’re treated to a spectacular Spaghetti Western mixed with the supernatural and hard-boiled elements that Fatale is known for. Definitely worth reading.