Review – The Fade Out #1 (Image Comics)

FadeOut01_Cover - CopyPublisher: Image Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Release Date: 20th August 2014

If you are a fan of Noir in any capacity, be it movies, books, comics or any other medium then I highly, highly suggest you jump in on this new series from an incredible creative team. I can’t say that I’ve followed the work these two have previously done together over the years because that would be a lie; I think I read one issue of Fatale, and was definitely impressed enough to eventually will go back and buy the trades to get the full story. However, I do know this; Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have taken this noir premise and delivered in spades on the first issue. I felt as though I was watching a classic murder mystery movie on TV; it had all the elements that the classic movies had, the narrative, the memory lapse and pieces of the puzzle slowly falling into place, and the characters are simply perfect. If this first issue doesn’t immediately suck you into this story and make you want to read on and see where the mystery leads, then I think you may need to have someone check your pulse.

Normally I would give a little synopsis of what transpired in the issue but in this case I feel it would do the reader injustice because the discovery in a story like this is the best part. Ed Brubaker has set the groundwork perfectly in the first issue. Without giving too much away, every character has been given their role in the story and each have had their personalities somewhat displayed already. Sometimes you will read a tale with this many characters and it will be a slow build on their development but I felt that in this first issue they each already had their own unique place and you could already start to form your own opinions of where their individual stories may lead. The dialogue is fitting for the time period and at the end of the issue can be found a short disclaimer informing readers that the explicit nature of some of the dialogue is not the main focus of the story it is merely there to stay true to the time period. I wasn’t to appalled by anything but at the same time, knowing the time period, it was fitting. I honestly cannot stress enough just how well written this first installment was. Immediately I was sucked into the 40s and engaged in this mystery, and now I’m asking why? Why does it have to be monthly?? I want issue two now!

Sean Phillips can tell a story as good as his writer. In the back of the issue they talk about how they made sure to research what Hollywood looked like in the 40s and made sure to keep everything true to the time period. I felt as though I had been transported back in time while reading. Not only did the writing take your mind back, but the landscapes, the clothing, all of it was done perfect in setting the scene for this story. The characters all have their own look and personality and you can feel the turmoil going on in the main character and the various other emotions portrayed by the other characters. As you flip the pages you feel more and more like you are actually in 1940s Hollywood or, more accurately, watching a classic 1940s noir film. To set the scene and tone so well for a story just beginning is no easy task, but Phillips’ does an excellent job in doing just that.

Before I started this review I was already impatiently waiting the next issue, and now the anticipation has been multiplied and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself for a month until the next comes out. Seriously.  It’s that good. I guess that’s the beauty of comics and of a story like this, and while I wait I can begin to formulate my own guesses as to where Brubaker and Phillips will take us next on this utterly compelling mystery…

Rating: 5/5


The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.

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