Shutter came back last time with an okayish first issue. It didn’t really progress the story or characters all that much besides the ending, but hey, maybe this new issue will fix all of that. Is it good?
Shutter #8 (Image Comics)
After being stabbed in the gut by her unnamed sister, Kate is slowly recovering in the woman’s home and after a while is brought to her. Her mysterious ‘sister’ then goes on one long tirade/monologue to explain why she did what she did and why she is after Kate’s father.
But first, comic strips!
To be perfectly honest, like with the last issue, this was just alright. Nothing great, but nothing bad either. Not much happens in this issue outside of getting the quick backstory for Kate’s clock cat and finding out about who Kate’s sister is (her name is Kalliyan, so we’ll refer to her as that). Most of the issue is just Kalliyan explaining to Kate about her life, how almost everything wrong in her life is because of Kate’s father and Kate (even though Kate keeps reminding her that she hasn’t done a single thing to her), how Kate doesn’t remember anything important, and she needs her help to find their dad. We don’t really learn anything new with the plot here and all we get are some minor hints that there could be something going on with Kate’s memories, but that’s really it. The whole issue feels rather uneventful outside of the ending and even the big cliffhanger last issue didn’t really amount to anything.
Though, since most of the issue was Kalliyan monologuing about her past, it did expand a bit on her character and her outlook on her life currently. It kind of made her seem…. Well, crazy, actually. She gives an idea of her backstory, but she’s very vague on the details about why Kate’s dad is so bad and why she hates he and Kate. She refuses to give a straight answer to any question, trying to excuse any of her misdeeds with vague justifications, and feels like she is trying to take the high ground over Kate most of the time because she was doing good things for downtrodden people. However, if this is an attempt to make the character seem more justified or sympathetic, it really doesn’t work that well since Kalliyan has been nothing but a villainous, awful individual throughout this series and Kate’s been nothing but an innocent victim in all of this. It doesn’t make me question anything about Kate’s life, it just makes me view Kalliyan as an unhinged individual who thinks she’s only doing the right thing.
Everybody jump aboard the monologue train!
The writing on the book is still perfectly fine and gets the job done. The pacing and story structure on the book have no issue with them. Besides Kalliyan, there’s not much in the way of characterization outside of the Clock Cat being mopey and Kate honestly calling out the bullshit that Kalliyan is spewing through most of the issue. The dialogue is probably the weakest part of the issue, since it can feel like it drones on and on in areas with the monologue and exposition dumping happening. Not all the time, but just enough to get quite tiresome at points. The ending for the book was intriguing, but it did start to make me wonder what exactly the limits of this world’s magic and science are.
The artwork on the other hand continues to be great and well-drawn overall. The characters look great and display a great range of emotion, the locations are nicely depicted, and the coloring is quite beautiful at times. The opening pages with the origin of the clock cat was done completely in the style of various comic strips (from the Peanuts to Calvin & Hobbes) and while I have no idea why these pages were done like this, the artist did a great job with recreating the styles on display. However, the weakest part to the art is that besides the opening pages, the artist really didn’t get to stretch themselves in the issue. Since there wasn’t much happening in the story besides a lot of talking, there wasn’t anything exciting or any new creature designs to take a look at. A bit disappointing.
Is It Good?
Shutter #8 was another okay issue. Unfortunately, the pacing and momentum are really starting to slow down. The only character who we do learn about or get a bigger understanding of isn’t exactly trustworthy and any attempt trying to make her be sympathetic never feels believable. Hopefully the next issue can get this comic back on track.