Fatale (1980)

Streets Of Paris, Streets Of Murder: The Complete Graphic Noir Of Machette & Tardi Vol. 1

Fatale is a quite unfortunately unfinished work from Jean-Patrick Manchette and Tardi, based on Manchette’s novel. They got twenty-one pages done of sixty; the pages seem to end around at the start of the second act and it’s a real bummer because it’s a phenomenal start.

There’s a sublime, mysterious beginning, then maybe a little bit too much of the hard-boiled as the exposition establishes protagonist Aimée. She’s apparently some kind of criminal, having gotten her hands on a fortune in cash—only having to shotgun one partner for it—leading to an exceptionally bad scene involving eating sauerkraut naked and rolling around in the cash like Scrooge McDuck.

But somehow the comic recovers as Aimée starts grifting her way through a tranquil little town, getting involved with all the strange goings on, like a rich guy who everyone wants committed because he pees on walls but he’s kind of a gentleman. Tardi has a great time with the personalities and the quirks—you forget Aimée’s the protagonist during this big party scene, since it’s all about introducing the supporting cast and ground situation in the town.

The action gets back to the protagonist in the last couple pages, as things move into the second act, but then it just stops.

Again, real bummer it didn’t get finished. While Tardi and Manchette initially seem to have characterization issues with the lead, the almost immediate recovery bodes well for whatever they would’ve done with the rest of it.

Might even be worth looking into the source novel….

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