Thursday, July 10, 2014

30 Days of Fatale: Coincidence and Fate.

"I believe in coincidences.  Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences."
- plain, simple Garak, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Fatale #9 was released on Halloween, 2012, with a six-page preview, and this penultimate chapter to "The Devil's Business" reintroduces the business of coincidence.

Toward the end of issue #6, we read that Jo had lived long enough to know that, "in her life, there were no coincidences."  It wasn't mere chance that caused Miles to stumble onto her property with that film reel.

In this issue, the Bishop lost one opportunity to track down Josephine with Suzy's murder.  He begs forgiveness from his dark gods, and he asks for them for another chance, asking them to "make the world turn his way."  The issue ends with his plea being juxtaposed against a chance encounter at a lavish party held at the home of the sadistic Gavin Wilder.  There, the Bishop's follower Derek notices Suzy's friend Miles, and he tracks Miles and Jo back to her home and the scene of the next issue's deadly climax.

This supernatural superintendence of events makes sense in the world of Fatale, not only for having a cause in the dark forces behind the scenes but also for having a narrative purpose.  This hand of fate keeps the plot moving and it heightens the sense of helplessness found in both noir and cosmic horror.

Still, I'm not a big fan of coincidences occurring at least in modern fiction, and I honestly think even the classic Watchmen suffered for having a few key coincidences:  the Comedian's actions that led to his end, Rorschach's stumbling onto his murder, and Dr. Manhattan's too-timely reappearance in the plot.  At least the first two could have been driven by character rather than chance.

I'm glad that Brubaker and Phillips' more naturalistic works like Criminal tend to be finely tuned machines that need no such contrivances, but Fatale has been enjoyable enough to encourage me to go with it in this case, and I suspect that Brubaker has a couple surprises up his sleeve for the grand finale. 

It's possible that at least one or two apparent coincidences aren't what they seem.

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