No Capes Allowed: Ed Brubaker's 'Fatale'

by Ryan Rigley

What is it about crime that continuously piques our interest as a species? With shows like "NCIS" and "Criminal Minds" proving to be two of the most watched shows on television, it's plain to see that the crime genre won't be going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the crime genre is so popular that it has been featured prominently on multiple platforms throughout the years, including movies, video games and, of course, comic books.

Chief among the crime comic book scene is none other than Ed Brubaker, whose hit-series "Criminal" was recently optioned to become a feature-length movie for Hunting Lane Films. Brubaker, whose other works include the supervillain-inspired "Sleeper" and "Icognito," has demonstrated time and again that he is quite familiar with the inner workings of a good crime story. It's no wonder that his latest series, "Fatale," is equally, if not more, engaging than its predecessors.

"Fatale" tells the story of Nicolas Lash, the grandson of a hackneyed crime writer, and Jo, a beautiful but deadly woman with a mysterious past. After meeting at his grandfather's funeral, Nick and Jo hit it off almost instantly. Despite the fact that Nick is already married (with a baby on the way), he pursues Jo, which will ultimately lead to the destruction of his loved ones and his sanity.

Jo, the "femme fatale" of the story, is a uniquely interesting character even though we don't initially know that much about her. So far all that's been established about Jo is that she has a husband (who she doesn't seem to love anymore), a gang of demonic mobsters is after her, and that she has some sort of supernatural powers. Also, she may or may not be immortal.

Clearly, this isn't your average crime story. Incorporating elements of horror, "Fatale" boasts a heaping helping of demons, death cults and devil-worshippers. And if that's not enough to grab your attention, the series also incorporates several motifs made popular by the one and only H.P. Lovecraft.

There's no question that "Fatale" would make a brilliant and original crime show. However, it occurs to us that in recent years there's been a shortage of compelling film noirs. Besides "Sin City," and the newly announced "Sin City 2," the film noirs of days passed have been all but replaced by action/adventure movies and psychological thrillers.

Paranoia plays a huge role in both crime and horror stories. It's what keeps us interested and/or on the edge of our seats. That being said, "Fatale" is wildly unpredictable in that you never truly know when those horror elements are going to come into play. With its crime story backbone and terrifyingly fresh twists, "Fatale" certainly has the potential to be one of the best film noirs of this past decade.

Leave the masks and tights at home, kids — this is a No Capes Allowed zone. In this column, we're highlighting all of the non-superhero comic books out there that are ripe for the big and small screen treatment. Leave us your No Capes Allowed picks in the comments section or on Twitter!