Published on May 16th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Shutter #1 And #2 – Comic Review
“Kate Kristopher was raised to be the world’s Greatest Explorer”.
This is what the reader is told in the ‘Story so far’ section of issue 1 but it doesn’t prepare you for the world in which she lives. The story follows Kate through her normal routine as a once famous author until she becomes the centre of a kidnapping attempt made by rival gangs. So far, so normal, except her world is far from normal. It’s within the credits sequence in issue 1 where glimpses of the extraordinary world are first hinted at, using background and incidental photos and news reports. Then the reader is whisked forward to an adult Kate where a talking cat with an inbuilt alarm clock and a Minotaur on a train barely prepare you for the fruit loop crazy ending of the first issue. This induction into the future/alternate city does not relent in issue 2; in fact it grows exponentially with the inclusion of lion gangsters, eviscerating Chinese dragons and what appears to be Tic Toc from The Return to Oz. Nothing can prepare you for issue 2.
The artwork is pleasing and complements the ever increasingly outlandish story in such a way that it never feels too ridiculous. The colouring by Owen Gieni is instrumental in keeping the visuals rooted in a sense of reality. It’s almost the opposite of Jordie Bellaire’s colour work for The Manhattan Projects where the bright, vividness accentuates the madcap narrative. The earthy style of the colours help Leila Del Duce’s line work create a wonderful sense of space. There are moments when the action sequences appear to get away from them and the panels become very busy and difficult to find focus, especially if the reader is not used to this kind of fantasy story, but for the most part your eye is drawn from one panel to the next with ease.
It is also in the action sequences where Joe Keatinge’s script can become a little muddled and you may find yourself rereading some pages to make sure you followed the plot correctly. These few moments are made slightly easier to navigate thanks to the lettering which takes on different styles for different species. The robot’s speech is especially well lettered.
Any faults that there may be with the action scenes are overshadowed however by the flashbacks to Kate’s childhood. It’s in these Victorian High Adventure style scenes where the story finds its true character. Kate is portrayed as an adorably girl who is inquisitive, imaginative and eager to live her life. She has a very strong bond with her father which creates dynamic, emotional scenes between the two of them. The artwork focuses on the two central characters and all of the craziness falls into the background, out of the way, ready for the reader to peruse at their pleasure later on. The script forces you to become involved with this father/daughter relationship so that you later wonder what turn of events could have led to the adult Kate who seems so down to earth and out of place.
Issue 2 is out this week and the mysteries raised in issue 1 are only deepened. As the mad cap world expands, the narrative broadens and so many questions are raised about Kate, the weird gangs and the environment as a whole. The strengths in this comic overshadow any slight problems with composition during the action sequences and as the reader becomes more accustomed to Kate’s world, the easier it will be to navigate.
This comic is worth picking up although some readers may be put off by the over the top fantasy element. If you’re looking for a realistically realised universe this might not be what you’re looking for but plenty of people will find something to love about this. And the best part is the heroine herself. As a child she is entertaining and full of life and I’m intrigued to see how her character grows in her adult life. She is like a modern day Alice tumbling through her wonderland and definitely a woman to root for and look up to.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Art: Leila Del Duca