I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying Curse The Demon is the last installment of the epic Fatale series, since that bit of info is given out on the back cover as a selling point. Still, kind of surprising, since the main character, Josephine, or ‘Jo’, the femme fatale of the long-running series, seems to live forever, which we all know ends up being a curse. I’d wondered if Jo’s story would just go forever. I wouldn’t have minded. But, since this is the last volume, will readers finally find out who Jo is? Or what she is? Or will she remain a mystery to everyone, even herself? Not gonna tell, but I will say that in this volume we get more of her than in previous volumes. Rather than being someone acted upon, Jo steps up to take control of her life, though doing so means exploiting her ability to get men to do whatever she wants—something she didn’t ever really want, and still doesn’t like, though now she’s decided that she must, selfishly, to solve her own problems. So, even as writer Ed Brubaker (Velvet, The Fade Out) subverts the mythic femme fatale archetype by making Jo sympathetic, he also plays to the archetype. The whole genius of the FATALE series is that Jo makes us readers like the male characters of the story: even as we see Jo as not-so-good (though not evil either) and acting selfishly, we still can’t help liking her. And one of the main reasons we like Jo is because we’re seduced by the world, drawn by artist Sean Phillips (Brubaker’s long-team collaborator) and colored gloomily by Elizabeth Breitweiser. The five volumes of spanned most of the twentieth century (and even before to medieval Europe) but the ‘look’ of the world always remains out of a 1950s detective noir movie/novel: Lots of shadows, and with things lurking in those shadows, some of them not human, since, as I’ve said before, Brubaker mashes in some HP Lovecraft horror, which plays a huge part in Curse The Demon. Also as I’ve said before: you either know how great Fatale is, or you’ve been living in a cave. Curse The Demon stands on its own, if only because of Phillips lush-gloom art, but it’ll send you back to previous volumes. Get them. If you haven’t experienced the amazingness of Brubaker/Phillips stories, you too will be seduced. Jo wants you to read her story, and you can’t resist her once you’ve met her. My review of the first volume of the Deluxe Edition of Fatale, here. My review of Fatale Volume Four: Pray For Rain, here.
Review: 'Fatale: Curse The Demon'