Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips
Published by Image Comics
Release date: January 7, 2015
The Fade Out #4 concludes the book’s first arc with some scenes taking place in the past, and some in the present, giving readers a little more insight into the murder mystery that has been central to the book since issue 1. This issue is very much centered on Charlie Parish, a screenwriter who has stumbled upon the murder and its subsequent cover up. Like the rest of the cast, his character is flawed and deeply human, though much less seedy than most of the supporting cast. His biggest struggle is in keeping his wartime memories repressed as he attempts to dig into his own subconscious to uncover clues to the murder which happened while he was drunk.
It’s obvious that while the murder is a key aspect of this book, that it is ultimately more about its characters than anything else. Brubaker does a terrific job at fleshing out each characters personalities by showing us their traits through their actions and reactions to people and events, which is enjoyable and gripping. This book does have a very large cast of very complex characters though which may be a turn off to many readers. If you manage to stick with it though, the payoff is quite large.
Sean Phillips does a great job at bringing Brubaker’s script to life, with accurate representations of post-war Hollywood. His character depictions are just as dark as the personalities they represent, and his use of shadows add an extra layer to the story. Phillips pencils definitely give this book the noi feel it deservers.
The Fade Out has a fascinating and very intricate story with beautiful art which will keep you coming back for more. While this type of murder mystery tale may not be of interest to many comic book readers, it is delightful to see such a gritty noir story being published among such a vast number of typical hero books.