Thursday, July 24, 2014

30 Days of Fatale: The White Knight Subverted.

Fatale #20
released February 12, 2014
following a five-page preview

The most surprising thing about Fatale #20 isn't the Nietzsche quote which may remind readers of the movie Groundhog Day, a comparison reinforced by the sequence of Jo's futile suicide attempts.  No, the shock comes with seeing Josephine as the completely self-assured bad-ass, seeking out the Bishop's cult, armed with  a semiautomatic and wearing a black leather jacket.

It was a long road for Jo.  After nearly being sacrificed and "devoured" in Romania during World War II, she had first found safety in Booker's protection in the 1950's; after losing her son, she then found safety as a recluse in the 1970's.  We had previously written how issue #8 documented the turning point:  seeing Hank in his fragile and fearful state, she decided that she was tired of hiding and that she would start fighting the cult that had been hunting her for nearly half a century.

Issue #21 will show that, after the costly victory in Los Angeles, Jospehine started looking for more knowledge about the cult -- and looking for allies.  She found Otto the librarian, and in 1995, Otto sent Jo and her friend Gavin to Seattle to find some rare occult books.  Her research was derailed by Wulf's attempt to kill her and the resulting amnesia, and she hadn't yet started acting on what her research uncovered.

Now in the present day -- January, 2014, to be specific -- Josephine is enacting a plan long in the making, with the schedule accelerated since Nicolas became a fugitive from the law.  After attacking the group of cultists in the woods, she embraces her powers and hijacks a cultist's car to find Nicolas, who is evidently a key part of her plan.

Jo rescues Nicolas from Lance -- now called Nelson -- and she drives Lance insane by revealing to him "every cold thing that's been hiding the shadows of eternity," a moment of self-disclosure that almost echoes the intimacy that she will share with Nicolas as they make love in issue #23.

Nicolas has seen Lance's incoherent ranting before, in the lunatic babbling of his father Johnny Lash, on the day he had Johnny committed ten years prior, the circumstances of which remain one of the story's biggest mysteries.  The memory ruins his moment of salvation and makes him wonder about what role he really plays in Josephine's master plan.

In this issue, Josephine subverts the image of the white knight twice over.  Instead of being the damsel in distress rescued by her prince, she's the one who saves Nicolas, but -- even in light of the cliffhanger ending to the penultimate issue #23 -- it's not at all clear that she saved him for noble and selfless reasons.

Jo was ruining men's lives long before she became proactive in her fight against the Bishop.  She's become both more knowledgeable and more self-assured, but that doesn't mean she's changed her destructive ways.

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