The Devil’s Business: Another excellent Brubaker and Phillips collaboration

Fatale (Vol 2): The Devil’s Business Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Fatale (Book Two): The Devil's Business by Ed Brubaker  The Devil’s Business, Book Two of Fatale, continues Ed Brubaker’s noir thriller within a Lovecraftian universe. Josephine, our femme fatale, has been in hiding for about five years since she has gotten rid of Hank from Book One, Death Chases Me. The year is now 1978, and Miles, an out of work B-movie actor, is looking for his friend Suzy Scream. When he finds her in the basement of a party hosted by a religious cult, she is covered in blood and standing next to the dead body of Brother Stane from the Method Church, a popular cult. Playing in the background is a film of some ritualistic human sacrifice. They grab the film and go on the run before the other members of the Method Church find them. Running in the night in Los Angeles, they climb over a wall and find themselves in the backyard of Josephine’s home. She takes them in, and Miles immediately falls head over heals for her. And from there, it gets really bizarre.

Josephine, looking for a religious tome that is displayed in the film, talks Miles into going with her to sneak into the Method Church’s black mass for Brother Stane. When she gets there, she inadvertently tips off the cult that’s been after her all her life. The men in suits, hats, and round spectacles who show up in the 1950s and in the present with Nicolas Lash, are the ones who spot her in 1978, and they are the servants who showed up whenever the Bishop from Book One was nearby. So their presence is ominous. Through the cult, we learn a little more about Josephine: She’s known as the Consort, but we don’t know for sure to what use they want to put her, only that this cult is connected to beings straight out of Lovecraft.

In the present, the book still focuses on Nicolas Lash, who lost a leg in a wreck the one day he met Jo during his godfather’s funeral. In the prologue, interlude, and epilogue, we get his continuing story as he hunts down this mysterious femme fatale, even though she is sure to bring him more trouble. He remembers once his father told him that “we are but insignificant gnats in the cold face of the universe,” and the more he chases after this phantom woman, the more he realizes how accurate his father’s words are.

Fatale (vol 2): The Devil’s Business is another excellent Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips collaboration. The art is as good as, or perhaps even better than, the art in Criminal, probably because Phillips gets to portray not simply noir but the otherworldly as well. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, you’ll feel yourself being pulled in by the demon gods that haunt this book. Do yourself a favor and read The Devil’s Business, but make sure you first read Book One, Death Chases Me. These are not standalone volumes. If you’ve made it to Book Two, by the way, you might as well purchase the remaining three books; you’ll want to read them one after the other without much of a break, if any.


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BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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