Fatale, Vol. 4: Pray for Rain by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I graduated high school in '87. After the glam rock of that period (which I despised - I was more on an Anthrax/Motorhead/Metallica kind of guy), the whole grunge scene just seemed pretty flat to me, like it was so anti-poser that it became it's own kind of posing. While I liked that first single by Nirvana (you know the one I'm talking about), I didn't much like anything else they put out. And while Pearl Jam had its moment and Soundgarden made a more lasting impression, with Alice in Chains showing several moments of pure brilliance, I just really didn't get into grunge like many of those around me. In fact, after a short time, I really hated it.
So I naturally recoiled at a story wherein a major part of the plot was centered around, you guessed it, a grunge band in the '90s.
And now you're wondering "why did you give it 5 stars"?
Because my dislike for the whole grunge scene played directly into Brubaker's nefarious plans for me. My sense of internal unease only grew as I read this distressing tale. Josephine, the titular Fatale herself, is stricken with amnesia after being stricken by . . . well, I don't want to give that away. She finds herself at the mansion of a one-hit-wonder grunge band who are down on their luck until she shows up. But what kind of luck does she bring? Good at first, then bad, in spades.
Jo, we find, is a sort of vortex, a center around which death and despondence swirl like bees around a hive. From the band to a cop-turned-serial-killer to a mysterious hell-spawned someone, Jo is the center of everyone's attention, whether they want her to be the center of attention or not. This vortex, by the volume's end, has become a maelstrom.
Honestly, I didn't think that Brubaker could throw me for a loop like he has this time around. The previous volumes of Fatale were already so strange and shrouded in mystery, that I was lulled into a sense of jaded security. I thought "okay, we'll just watch how this thing plays out as we approach the last volume. What other surprises can he throw at me that he hasn't already thrown?"
And then . . . "Wha? Who? Really? But . . ."
That's an exact quote.
I'll spare you the full spoiler, but let's just say that while I expect someone to die in every volume, one of the someones who died this volume was most definitely *not* someone who I expected to die, especially in the way this person was bumped off. Those who have read the previous volumes will know who I'm talking about, and . . .
OK. I'm getting esoteric. I'll stop. But be warned, if you haven't read Volume 1 and Volume 2, you will be thoroughly confused. If you have read them, you will be thoroughly confused and utterly horrified.
And that's just where Brubaker wants you.
Embrace the dark.
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