Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
After a break that felt way too long, The Fade Out makes its return with The Fade Out #5. The series is now starting its second arc, and it appears to be picking up right where the previous left off. In this issue, Gil gets most of the attention, as the reader learns more about what drives the broken character.
Despite the break, The Fade Out #5 doesn’t skip a beat. It assumes that everything is still fresh in the reader’s mind, and brings the story back to Gil, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He is one of the more interesting characters in the series due to how he approaches life. What appears to be an alcoholic who can’t stop gambling is actually a man driven by his own code of ethics, still somehow observing the world around him three drinks into the night. The poor guy witnesses some harassment in a bar and is suddenly forced to go on a trip with the thuggish Phil Brodsky.
Meanwhile Charlie is still fighting his own demons. His relationship with Maya Silver is complex, something that Ed Brubaker writes naturally. The characters have an interesting dynamic, and every moment between the two makes for a compelling read. The Fade Out is definitely a slow read, and the road to solving the mystery is definitely rocky. There are very few clues as to what the big picture is, but the characters are what really drive this book. Everything flows exceptionally well and while nothing is obvious, you just know that subtle hints are being dropped in the conversations.
Sean Phillips is still the perfect artist to work with Ed Brubaker. This is the best duo in comics. Phillips’ art perfectly captures the tone and feel of the title. The characters all vary in appearance and no one looks rushed or generic. In a book full of dialogue and slow exposition, character’s expressions and poses are absolutely essential to making a book succeed. Phillips does this and more. The book also flows well due to a simple but effective panel layout.