Maya Zach ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The Fade Out is the first in a soon-to-be-long list of series created by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips for Image after their five-year contract with the publishing company. Both writer and artist have worked on many Image series, many of which they co-created. For this reason, Image Comics signed the duo to create an abundance of new series with complete freedom, control, and ownership.
Because of this unprecedented deal, readers are bound to have high expectations for the series. The fact that they ended the long running, fan-favorite series Fatale to create The Fade Out puts even more pressure on Brubaker and Phillips. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite deliver.
The Fade Out revolves around a 1940s Hollywood film set after a starlet is murdered; it deals with the fallout and how the studio handles the situation. The story is told in the point of view of Charlie Parish, a screenwriter who may have witnessed the murder of Valeria Sommers.
Charlie might be the star of the comic, but he has very little dialogue, and honestly, doesn’t appear to do very much. The entire story is carried by an omniscient narrator. This creates a detached feeling while reading The Fade Out and doesn’t allow for the characters to differentiate themselves or seem at all relatable. It pulls the reader away from the series and the characters. Which is enough to lose interest in the series rather quickly.
Though the characters fall short, the little bit of dialogue is captivating. Brubaker (with the help of research assistant Amy Condit) does an excellent job capturing the speech patterns of the 1940s. He does not shy away from touchy subjects that were prevalent in the decade, such as sexism and anti-Semitism. They are layered into the story without being heavy-handed or misplaced.
The art is easily the best feature of the series. Phillips completely nails the art with a gritty style that fits the noir theme. And it pairs perfectly with Elizabeth Breitweiser’s dark color palette.
Regrettably Brubaker and Breitweiser’s excellent art and a brilliant concept are not enough to earn The Fade Out a place on my pull list. The story is told almost solely through narrative text, which is not enough to progress a story while keeping readers entertained.
Emertainment Monthly gives this issue a 5/10.