Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
The Fade Out #1
Brubaker & Phillips
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips wrap up Fatale last month and kick off their next noir story, The Fade Out, this month. The interesting component of this opening issue is how the comic feels like a genuine period piece, in the vain of Mad Men, where as so many of their other books seemed to have the ability to transcend a specific time period. If you have a read a Brubaker and Phillips book before then you know what you are getting into. However, if you are new to their work then this series looks to have a cast of hard characters in a seedy underworld that wears the happy face of Hollywood. This first issue is about as strong as it gets. I highly recommend this comic book.
The comic book is interesting because it provides a character rundown to begin the issue. While this is helpful to have, I didn't think it was necessary. Brubaker unfolds the characters one at a time starting with Charlie Parish. Parish stumbles his way through the nightlife of Hollywood and discovers a dead body. What unfolds is a terrific read.
As more of the characters are introduced in the book it becomes clear that none of them are willing to get involved with a dead body. Eventually the death is ruled a suicide and none of the characters are willing to even entertain the prospect of it being a murder.
The level of deceit and criminal activity that seems to rule over Hollywood during this time is a powerful topic to attack in this book. What's interesting, and is entirely coincidental, is that Robin Williams recently committed suicide. This type of comic book would only empower the conspiracy theorists out there.
The strength of the book is the writing and how it brings a villainous element to each character. All of them feel a touch dirty and yet all of them have some quality that a reader might latch on to in a way to turn them into a protagonist.
The criticism of Phillips on art is that all of his books look the same in terms of character depiction and expressions. This is not the case here. Phillips manages to make this comic book feel like an old movie and it seems to include quite a bit of old scenery to set this apart from his other comics. None of these characters look like any other characters from Criminal, Incognito or Fatale. The artwork is tremendous all around in this comic book.
The Fade Out looks like an instant classic. It's a noir style set story in the original noir time period. The book clocks in at twenty-eight pages and includes an essay in the back. It's truly a reading experience. It's definitely one to pick up.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles