With the original narrative arc semi-closed in issue #10 of Fatale, issue #11 sees Brubaker and Phillips further exploring other characters and background stories in Josephine’s world. While the previous narrative arc intimated that there was a much larger, much more nefarious order operating behind the world of Fatale, issue #11 begins the deeper foray into this troubled and troubling landscape.
This isn’t to say issue #11 is a total deviation from what we’ve come to expect and love from Fatale. We still get Jo, and we still get the lovestruck and doomed-in-worse-ways-than-death men that have occupied the story to date. Jo is still a compelling character, and because issue #11 pre-dates the events of the first ten issues, Brubaker gives us a side of Jo that is more vulnerable, less certain, and more human. It’s nothing new, but it continues to develop her motives and psyche in a reliable manner that doesn’t feel just like either a re-iteration or a complete deviation of her characterization so far.
We also get Alfred Ravenscroft (a name that feels like it’s paying homage to H.P. Lovecraft), the character who opens the door to let us peak into a world populated with characters and monsters that even Jo is unaware of. In this issue, Jo’s involvement feels like just the launching pad for Brubaker and Phillips to really delve into the lore operating as the backbone of the story and to explore the seedy, scary and insane underbelly of Fatale. For the first time in the series, we can see Jo moving to the background to let the secrets and dangers of the Fatale universe arise .
This is the moment readers have been waiting for in the series. We’ve only been given hints at the real depth of the monstrosities and cultish lore pulling the strings of the narrative, so to speak. There is a chance to see more of the Cthulu-esque men and their role in America, a prospect that would delight any monster fan. I don’t want all the secrets revealed — there’s plenty of time for that — I just want enough to continue to satiate those of us who already care for Jo, and I want to know more about the evil forces at work in and around her. Issues 11 and beyond look like they’ll be providing more information about the world Jo is part of.
Moreover, there is the hint in issue #11 that Jo’s charms and immortality are not unique to her, or more importantly, an advantage provided by her femininity. Ravenscroft’s story introduces us to a man who is surrounded by servants that act “more like followers or devotees.” The focus is continuing to shift from Jo as a femme fatale, to Jo as a supernatural entity, a rogue from the world that is just now being further explored.