REVIEW: The Fade Out #2

Story By: Ed Brubaker
Art By: Sean Phillips
Art By: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Published: October 1, 2014

REVIEW:

Brubaker and Phillips’ crime noir The Fade Out continues after the sell out first issue, providing more mystery, intrigue and great character moments thrown in for good measure.

This issue sees Charlie still wrestling with the guilt of the events of the first issue whilst dealing with studio politics, directors and a friend that has well and truly gone off the rails. Or at least that’s my interpretation of events. This is the thing that Brubaker does so well in this book, as I was reading the letter pages and it struck me that each reader’s interpretation of events in the book differs slightly, from the characters, their motivations and hell even the general events of the story. Brubaker is giving readers a master class in writing, setting up the events and letting your imagination wonder. Something I took as just background noise in the first issue now could potentially have a different meaning and I have poured over both issues taking in all the nuances and subtleties left for the reader.

Both writer and arts are building a noir tale that really gets under your skin. Nothing is what it seems in this book and if you take the lead Charlie for example, whilst the reader feels for him (at least I do) and the current situation he finds himself in, you can’t help but feel that he is hiding something from the reader and himself. This issue also sees some great little character moments that really add depth to the cast of characters that have been assembled, you get to see them at their lowest and highest and get a real sense for the journey they have been to get to where they are by the time this tale kicks off. Whilst this book does not have much in the way of action you instead experience a whole rack of different emotions when reading it, dread, fear, wonder, confusion and love to name but a few.

Phillips’ art in this book is something to behold. The attention to detail to create a realistic living breathing Hollywood of the era is amazing, nothing seems out of place in this book and you feel like you can leap into a panel and be right there in the story. His use of inking a create plenty of shadows really show him as a master of the noir style yet they are not overused at the same time it is the perfect combination. His attention to detail in the facial expressions really help sell the emotions that Brubaker’s story convey, every characters actions are subtle and if you read the book too fast you will miss them. The book is a dark and moody, even in the daytime scenes there is a definite gritty sense to the art, it feels seedy whilst you are reading much like the Hollywood of the time.

One thing that must be touched on is the back matter of this book,  the creative team have take great care to assemble a great series of articles that really help you get into the mind set of the time. It allows you to gain an even greater understanding of Hollywood at the time which greatly enhances the overall reading experience.

The masters of noir comics have done it again with this master piece, whilst as Brubaker himself has said it was not his most marketable idea it is certainly one of his and Phillips greatest comics. Plenty of drama, mystery and intrigue keep you on the edge of your seat when reading this book and you are sad when every issue is over as you simply want to read more of this amazing tale they are crafting.

5/5

5star

By Matt Deery

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