Mel’s Muses: Fatale #1 and Action Comics #5

The first weekly shipment for 2012 saw some real gems and I can safely say that this is going to be an AMAZING year for comics. And yah, that’s a reference to ol’ webhead’s 50th anniversary this year, am pretty sure we’ll have something here for fans later. But right now, a quick look at couple of last week’s titles.

Fatale #1. Whoa, first favorite title for the year and it ain’t one from the Big Two? I honestly didn’t see that coming. It’s Image’s Fatale by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, the same team behind last year’s acclaimed noir mini-series Criminal: Last of the Innocent.

Now I would have given Fatale a miss if not for the almost non-stop Twitter barrage by Brubaker. Sure, I like just about everything he wrote last year but I’m already up to my eyeballs with my regular weekly stuff. However I did it pick up and without having seen or read any previews about it, I didn’t know what to expect. Is it another crime title, superhero, horror or something else? Well, after that first issue, it’s still hard to tell but I thought that actually worked in its favor.

Brubaker and Phillips brought that noir magic back here and this time, they managed to sprinkle their crime story with a healthy pinch of horror, plus it’s my favorite type too, the Lovecraftian-type. Well, there’s no direct reference to Cthulhu or any of the Ancient Ones (yet?) but nameless cults, bloody human sacrifices and a cover featuring a big squid thingy all do seem to point towards a treat for fans of H.P. Lovecraft, I hope.

The story opens in the present day with protagonist Nicholas Lash attending his grandfather, crime novelist Dominic Raines’ funeral. And like it says in the title, a femme fatale shows up and things start getting interesting. The subsequent flashback to Raines’ story in 1956 takes the tale down a chilling yet unmistakable noir and Lovecraftian road.

In Fatale, Brubaker has crafted a cool mystery tale on one’s quest for immortality, and I really think there are enough tantalizing hints in this first issue to make folks come back for more. Philips’ art definitely sets the mood; it’s shadowy and compliments the story perfectly. Can’t wait for the second issue.

Action Comics #5. What just happened here?!? The Superman’s-first-fight-with-Lex Luthor storyline that has been running for the first four issues has been hijacked midway by a Superman origin story.

According to the Internet, the first storyline will continue in issue #7 in March. This new story arc is still written by Grant Morrison but drawn by fan favorite Andy Kubert instead of regular guy Rags Morales. In this issue, Morrison gives his spin on the destruction of Krypton, nothing major changes in the telling of how baby Kal-El escaped to Earth in a rocket ship. Although it took me awhile to realize that it’s the rocket ship’s computer narrating the story. Then halfway through that, we take a deep left turn down Time-warp Boulevard and we are in the 31st century with a new yet familiar cast of characters. Confusing? Definitely but that just means Morrison is up to his old tricks again. Just please don’t turn this into the mess that The Return of Bruce Wayne time travel story was!

The back-up story about Jonathan and Martha Kent’s wedding and them trying to have a baby was a total waste of time and space. Written by Sholly Fisch and drawn by Chris Cross, it doesn’t tell us anything new except maybe that the Kents tried for a test tube baby! Doesn’t add to Morrison’s main story either. Yah, we already know they are a truly loving couple, they got a farm and they really, really wanted a kid. In other words, a short sappy tale that just didn’t work for me.


Melvin Yong has worked way too long in the media and advertising industry. He now spends his time with his family, writing short horror stories and playing lots of board games.

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  1. Damn, I missed out on Fatale. Is there a backmatter text piece in this, like in their Criminal and Incognito books?

    Also, I loved that back-up in Action, though I’m a sap myself, so perhaps that’s why.

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