Adapted from the 1970s’ crime noir novel, this is an incredibly impressive telling of the tale beautifully illustrated and painted by Max Cabanes. It follows the story of Aimée Joubert, a woman consumed with a need for vengeance that has turned her into a ruthless killer, travelling from town to town and inserting herself into the local social scene to discover secrets and frictions to manipulate. Following a successful death elsewhere she changes her appearance and arrives in the seaside town of Bléville but, as the days pass and she ingratiates herself with the great and good of the town, she finds a corruption that conflicts with her agenda and her detachment becomes threatened.
In itself the noir telling of this tale is enticing enough, but Cabanes’ artwork gives it a whole other dimension. It’s moody, seductive, and firmly planted in its period, often taking its time to set scenes and expand tension through the minimum of words – only possible with a skilled artist able to deliver landscape, background and body language with such apparent ease.
Morally questionable, with very few characters with any likeable qualities, you find yourself rooting for the anti-heroine despite her actions and intent. Definitely one for mature readers only, Manchette’s Fatale is another great example of the medium delivering on versatility and surprises.
And if you liked that: Handled very differently, but with the same underlying genre, pick up a copy of Blacksad.