Image has released yet another new series, but this one is a bit more special. It’s one of the first series that was announced/discussed at their big Expo back in January to finally be released. With writing by Joe Keating (Marvel Knights: Hulk) and art by Leila Del Duca (who I have never heard of), they release to us: Shutter! Is it good?
Shutter #1 (Image Comics)
Meet Kate Kristopher. She comes from a long line of great explorers that combed and ventured all over the Earth, discovering great secrets and legends. However, in the future, after she made a big discovery that changed the world, she has retired from the exploring business and stopped writing about her discoveries when there was nothing left to write about. Right now, she’s just taking it easy and unsure what to do now…
Only a little child could think that.
The first issue of Shutter is basically an introduction to our main character and not a lot else, except for the ending (that’s when the story kicks in). In the issue, we get to learn about Kate’s history and her family’s legacy, getting an idea of where she became the adventurer she would be/was in the present. Not much detail is given regarding her history, but the implications and legacy of it can be seen subtly in the items of her old home. The second third is where we see where she is today, get the hints of what she has done, the impact of it, and how she sees her life currently. Again, there is a touch of subtlety in how she is characterized; allowing her jadedness, facial expressions, and conversations tell us all that we need to know about her in comparison of having it being spelled out for us like other books might do.
The final third of the book tosses subtlety out the window and is where the story kicks in and we get a bit of action. The final third is definitely where things start happening and we get more looks into the past and more characterization for our heroine. Unfortunately though, even with this part and a decent cliffhanger, the book gets off to a very slow start. Not much is happening in the first issue and while the subtle way the character is handled is nice, Kate doesn’t really make much of an impression or do a whole lot to make her be special or someone we could care about. The book is a bit too laid back for its own good and really needed to get things going much quicker to make a bigger impact.
Your great grandmother kicked griffin ass like no one else could, sweetie.
The writing is fine though overall despite those hiccups. Pacing is a bit slow and could be a bit dragging at the beginning, but as the comic went along, things picked up reasonably and the ending moved pretty quickly. The story flowed well enough and there were no awkward transitions (Besides one panel where a character’s discussion quickly changed almost instantly). Dialogue is fine, but nothing really jumps out too much about it. The ending, again, has a pretty good cliffhanger and does have some intrigue to it. There’s nothing really wrong with the writing in general, but the story needed some more work.
Leila Del Duca’s artwork, however, is what makes this go from merely an okay comic to a great comic. Shutter has a very creative and inventive world, filled with intriguing creatures, mechanics, and stylistic designs. Del Duca’s style is reminiscent of a combination of Fiona Staples and Sean Murphy (in some areas), especially in the line work and in the character designs (though some of the designs are much better than others). The characters are easily discernible in their looks and design, the fantasy/sci-fi aspect looks good overall and is a bit memorable, layouts are pretty good (though nothing groundbreaking), and there are some solid portrayals of emotions and tone in scenes.
There were two things that really stood out to me. First was the fact that Owen Gieni is the colorist of the comic and you do get some vibes from Manifest Destiny in it. Second is that the bad guy at the end looks almost uncannily like Tik Tok from Return to Oz. Seriously, that was kind of weird and probably far more memorable to me than it should have been.
But seriously, daddy would really like it if you were like aunt here with the white skin and pink tattoos.
Is It Good?
Shutter #1 is a slow and mostly uneventful (until the end) start for the new series. There is certainly potential here and the events at the end do hint at something big and exciting coming soon, but it’s not really exciting enough to really get the audience into the story. The artwork, however, is awesome and fits the style, design, and tone of the series quite well. Maybe not worth getting right away until there is more story, but definitely a title to keep your eye on in the meantime.