Random Retrospective #35 – Fatale #12

FATALE was one of those comics I picked up based on a few pages of previews, probably in PREVIEWS magazine. I knew the name of Ed Brubaker, and I’d seen Sean Phillips’ art before – I think his run on HELLBLAZER years before was the first time I’d seen his stuff – but despite their long working relationship, I’d never picked up anything by the pair. I like a bit of noir fiction now and then, especially if it’s mixed in with some horrific, Lovecraftian overtones, so FATALE seemed like it would be worth a punt.

And it was.

This issue was a stand alone, one and done flash-back that explored the past of the main character Josephine who may or may not be the same woman as Mathilde here in 13th century France – you’ll have to forgive my ageing memory. Mathilde is believed to be a witch and is captured and burnt at the stake by the local religious order.

However, she survives the flames and wakens to find the monks killing each other, driven mad by their desire for her – that’s her unintentional power, to make men want her.

She escapes into the forest and is found by an old man, Ganix, who has no interest in her body and instead allows her to heal and live with him as she pleases. Several years pass until Ganix returns from one of his infrequent trips to a nearby town with the religious order on his heels. They capture him but, Mathilde having hidden, leave without her. She tracks them down where she finds the order sacrificing Ganix and, despite knowing it’s a trap, she attacks, confident in her abilities.

But things are not what they appear and, Mathilde realises things have gone wrong.

FATALE was a damn fine series if you like a bit of detective fiction with horror elements and if you’ve not read it, it’s worth tracking down the collected editions.