So I’m just a tad behind the times, Fangirls, but not too bad. Though it was terribly hard to resist, I had to finish up a pile of unread comics before I jumped into this new Brubaker/Phillips series. At last, it is here in my arms. Of course, it’s just as mind blowing, intense, and beautiful as I had imagined.
The Fade Out is just a few issues in, but from issue one it’s already an intense and exciting 40’s crime noir saga that I don’t want to put down. So far, the story mainly focuses on a young screenwriter named Charlie, who after a wild party, wakes to find an unusual scene. Oh, and the star of his current film dead in her bedroom.He’s groggy, waking in someone else’s home, trying to remember any detail he can about the previous night. He sees lipstick marks on a mirror, and is getting flashes of scenes from the party the night before. He’s piecing some things together when he find Valerie, the starlet, dead in one of the bedrooms. She’s got bruises all around her neck, and it becomes clear that someone choked her to death. Charlie has no clue what went on, but he knows he shouldn’t be there. He grabs a rag from the floor and wipes down everything, erasing any trace that he had ever been there. He stumbles over to his office, not far from the home, and falls asleep. His dreams taunt him with the blank spaces from last night. Figures with blank faces, unrecognizable voices, it all tortures Charlie until he’s woken up by the studio’s publicist, Dottie. She tells him of the news about Valerie, he tries to act surprised. She fills in some of the blanks for him, as does Mr. Brodsky, the studio’s head of security. There was a party at the house of Earl Rath, another movie star, and everything got out of hand. There was fighting, drinking, and as we’ve learned, lots of gaps. It’s unclear if Brodsky knows what really went down with Valerie, but they’re ruling it as a suicide, based on a picture of Valerie hanging from her ceiling. We all know, though, that’s not the scene that Charlie discovered. Surely, something extra fishy is going on with this situation.
Later, Charlie is in his office with his buddy Gil, discussing something that must have gone down a night or two before. Gil had been drunk at causing trouble at a bar when Charlie had to go pick him up. Gil was further explaining some things, or rather debunking drunken lies he had told to Charlie that night. Gil starts telling him about a movie idea he’s got for Bob Hope, when Charlie remembers the rag he’s got in his pocket from this morning. Only he discovers it’s not a rag, it’s a pair of black panties. They must belong to Val. Then, something strikes Charlie, and he tells Gil that he think he has really messed up. Well, shoot, Fade Out. I expected you to leave me hanging, but damn. This comic has really roped me in. This team really has a way of writing in suspense, pulling you in close so that you can’t wait to turn every page and figure out what the heck is going on. They leave everything in mystery, while still some how giving you a lot to hold on to. This duo simply rocks. The illustration & coloring, as per usual, is stunning. The style is a staple of their books, and is undeniably Sean Phillips. I could look at anything he draws all damn day. The fifth issue of this series is out on March 25th. That gives you a solid few weeks to get your booty down to a comic shop, grab #1-#4, and find out all the good stuff you’ve been missing out on. I know that’s what I’ll be doing. Issue #1 is a fierce beginning to a profound murder mystery that I’m already undoubtedly addicted to.
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