Fatale, Book Three: West of Hell by Ed Brubaker

51HS12RL94L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been following Fatale for a while now. In fact, I can tell you the first time I saw a cover for this series. It was back sometime at the beginning of 2013, maybe the end of 2012, and it was nestled in beside a few copies of fellow new release Revival – a series I am absolutely IN LOVE with. (More on that at a later date)

I was immediately drawn to the cover – a thing of fantastic noir beauty, married with what looked like a Lovecraftian feel. This cover, in particular, made me think of a combination of Ralph Steadman and Ben Templesmith, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Now, anyone who knows me well will probably tell you how I feel about H.P. Lovecraft. I appreciate his work and completely understand his value in the genre… but he’s not for me. I’m more of a Poe guy – high drama and a lot of “woe is me.” I had to play the Argento/Fulci game here. Sorry.

That said, I usually find myself shying away from things like Edward Lee’s more recent HPL output, even though I’m a huge fan of the Lee. See what I’m getting at? I hope you’re still with me.

But Fatale, despite my initial judgements, had me intrigued for some reason. There are a few things about this title that I’m obviously not immediately a fan of, but there’s something else there – something I still haven’t nailed down, that just reels me in a keeps me fully connected. Is it the story of a beautiful woman embroiled in an eternal struggle? Is it the images that Sean Phillips and Dave Stewart splash so skillfully across the page? Is it Brubaker’s unquestionable expertise at crafting smooth, solid, engaging stories?

I have no fucking clue. What I DO know is I’m a fan, and I have no choice over the matter.

From the dark days of the depression, to the middle ages and the old west, these tales of horror and myth and the mystery of the Femme Fatale reveal secrets even our heroine doesn’t know about yet. Bold and experimental, this is pulp noir horror at it’s finest.

– from Amazon.com

While that’s not much of a synopsis, it’s still a hell of a teaser doncha think?!

Now.. what was I saying?
YES! Okay.

This is one hell of a book, folks! I hate to admit that I usually love my GNs a little more on the bloody, revealing side of the genre (Crossed, Locke and Key, Revival), but there’s definitely something to be said for the shadow-play and ethereal nature of the images and story herein.

Fatale has a long extended arc revolving around the Femme Fatale character and her unrelenting desire to uncover more knowledge into her past, present, and future. She’s been plagued by nightmares, denied answers, and endangered her whole life – and in this issue she’s only that little bit closer to finding out exactly what’s going on.

The readers are treated to a generous smattering of stories detailing Fatale’s interesting past, and brought into a world that reads like a unique piece of work, but pays a good deal of homage to the authors of yore – the aforementioned HPL, and extending all the way to carry hints of Louis L’Amour’s western flair.

Brubaker’s engrossing story, coupled with Phillips and Stewarts’ noir infused images, makes Fatale a definite must-have for anyone who appreciates their horror GNs to be more than pages and pages of flashy gore and relentless Big Bads.

Fatale, Book Three: West of Hell, is available at Amazon, Image Comics, and other retailers.

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