Fatale #1 - Death Chases Me
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips spread their talent to Image as the team behind Marvel's amazingly brilliant Criminal create another, great series.
After the death of his godfather (Dominic Raines), Nicolas Lash heads to the deceased's house and begins looking through his stuff. Nicolas is surprised to find an unpublished manuscript for and older book of his Dominic's. A manuscript that predates his other books by three years. And that's where things get tricky. As a car pulls up outside, Nicolas is surprised to see to large men in derby hats and carrying guns coming to the door. Outta nowhere, a lady from the funeral comes out, shooting at the goons, grabbing Nicolas and heading out. as a car chase begins and ends just as fast, Nic comes to in the hospital, sans one of his legs. As he finds and reaches his godfather's manuscript, he finds an old picture in it of Dominic and a lady who looks oddly similar to the lady who just "saved his life".
We cut back to 1956 as a reporter, Hank Raines, comes to interview our mystery lady about her crooked cop boyfriend. Before she can give too much up (or at least before us readers get to see what is given), we move to said crooked cop, Walter Booker as he and his partner investigate a mass homicide/suicide that appears to be the work of satanic cultists. Slyly taking a card from the pocket of one of the dead, Walt goes to an opium den in Chinatown. He places the lifted card into an ash tray, cuts his palm open to bleed on it and sets it on fire. From behind, familiar men in derby hats and sunglasses appear. He pulls a gun, proposing a deal. He wants to same magic that was used on his girl to keep her young and alive and he's ready to trade their boss for it.
If you have read anything by these two, be it the 26 issues of Criminal or the 11 issues of Incognito, you had a slight idea of how great this book could turn out to be and the first issue was not a disappointment. While Criminal is the straight crime and Incognito was super-hero noir, Fatale is setting us up for sci-fi mystery. Brubaker is one of the best writers in the industry and these three titles prove it. Not only has he proven himself with the costumed books in Captain American but he throws these out and shows he has more depth than almost every other writer in the business. It should come as no surprise that he and Greg Rucka come from each others pasts and actually worked together numerous time, including the amazing and completely underrated Gotham Central. His name alone is worth picking up this book but throw in Sean Phillips and it's gold. I was never the biggest fan of Phillips before Criminal. He's not bad but it never worked for me. Turns out it because he was made for stories like this. He has a darkness that is lost on the likes of Wildcats and X-Men. His crisp lines match the hardened story perfectly and I can't imagine one of Brubaker's "crime" books without him.
End of the day, if you want something that stretches outside of the normal hum of hero comics, Brubaker is your man and this is a great spot to start. Not to mention all the amazing work before it that you will practically then be forced to catch up on.