Thursday, 10 April 2014

New Beginnings - Shutter #1

by Matt Puddy

Fresh from Image this week we have Shutter, a new comic by Joe Keating and Leila Del Duca.

Showing potential promise to be the new Indiana Jones of the comic book world, the story revolves around Kate Kristopher. Coming from a family with a history that is steeped in secrets, mystery and also discoveries, her late father opened up a whole new and interesting world to her when she was just a child. An example of this would be her 7th birthday treat, when he metaphorically offered her all of the different worlds whilst showing her our own Earth from the surface of the moon.

From the outset this is clearly set in an alternate reality, or pockets of one that is outside of our own. Paintings depicted by Del Duca in the hallways showings things like meeting aliens on Pluto in 1902 or family portraits complete with fairies or other magical creatures.

All of this is a lot to take in for a young girl. It's a huge amount to live up to, should she choose that path. Skipping forward 20 years and things are very different to our world. Society is multilayered with spacemen and minotaurs alike and plenty in between. It also appears that Kate not only followed the path, but documented it too and published books which have become fan favourites.

Once the book ideas started to wane, Kate turned to another love and photography has filled the void for her. All the while she has never forgotten her late father, whose grave she visits regularly. Today being special, as it’s her 27th birthday.

Things are tough and rapidly spiral down when she is attacked by three spectral assassins only to be aided finally by a robot (which looks suspiciously like the man from the Pringles tubes) who endeavours to not only save her, but also to warn her to be wary of the assailants her father always shielded her from. Her siblings.

At first I found this story a little slow to pick up and get going, but on the second and third read through it becomes apparent that this is necessary for providing a much more sombre feel and mood, mimicking Kate’s own feelings, and then also providing a very harsh contract when the action kicked in. As a writing ploy it did work very well, setting up a cliffhanger for the end of the issue.

Del Duca’s artwork for the issue is well thought out and detailed. In the flashbacks, there’s a certain grainy quality to imply the age, and when brought into the present there’s an extra level of clarity. Even the bystanders have had attention paid to them in the frames, but at the same time it’s not overly detailed and distracting. I may well have another new artist to add to my list of favourites.

As a new beginning it certainly comes across well (as long as you do tough it out through the slow-paced opening) and I’ve enjoyed reading it. Whether or not it can hold the interest is yet to be seen, and I have a feeling there will be flashbacks galore to come, but all the same it's a good first issue that is well worth your time and money.

Matt Puddy scored a zero.

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