REVIEW: ‘Shutter’ #1

(Image Comics, 2014)

Writer & Co-Creator: Joe Keatinge
Artist & Co Creator: Leila Del Duca
Colorist: Owen Gieni
Letterer: Ed Brisson

I’ve come to a point where first issues, good first issues, have become an annoyance. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to catch hold of that bouncing rope hanging from the hot-air balloon, hanging on for dear life as the story hauls you into the air and…then the first issue ends. The tips of your toes have left furrows in the ground, the rubber toes of your shoes across the grass just enough to stain them and then you have to wait a month to find out what’s next.
I like anthologies, yes, but you have to wait for them as well, and…I just realized I’m impatient and this has nothing to do with comics and everything to do with having to wait for comics.

Restart…sometimes the machine needs to get going before it starts to run smoothly.

Shutter #1 drops this week from Image comics, and to bring this back around to a convoluted beginning, this is a good first issue.

We’re introduced to Kate Kristopher, retired explored, author, journalist, and turning 27 today. She has lived an entire life in her first 27 years and is over it. Kate lives in a world that is filled with wonder, from a Minotaur riding the trains to snake-haired women walking by you on the street. Aliens have landed and are visiting constantly. So far it seems that anything and everything goes.

Kate is a legacy explorer. From a young age she was taken on adventures with her parents, and that has dulled the sense of mystery that she may have once felt for the amazing things that are now everyday life. But today is her twenty-seventh and that date has been chosen by “a mysterious someone” to be the day that her life changes.

Joe Keatinge (Hell Yeah, Morbius: The Living Vampire) has developed a world that is a mundane fantasy. All things that happen here, from glowing, vaporous ninjas, to clockwork men leave Kate, not only unaffected, but also almost angry at their everydayness. She is the ultimate character; her fearlessness and complete confidence make it hard for her to react in an emotional way. But there are cracks in her nearly impenetrable defenses, and those fissures are centered on her father. This will be the key to opening the character of Kate back up to the world and the fantasy in which she is living. This I think, more than anything else, will be the main thrust of the book, that is, making Kate enjoy life again and teaching her to take pleasure in the small things. (As well as the overgrown, passenger-carrying eagles which make an appearance between the city’s buildings.)

This is also the first appearance of Leila Del Duca as an artist for Image. I found her style to be evocative and her attention to detail to be wonderfully specific. Her style reminds me a little of Fiona Staple’s Saga work, but there is a difference in Owen Gieni’s coloring and Del Duca’s line work that make the figures less crisp than in Saga. There is more blending of shades, less block color, and overall that makes for a more realistic look to this art even while Del Duca must delve just as deeply into the fantasy pool. Her perspective work is fantastic as well, a few pages of the city showcase a keen eye at architecture, and one panel of Kate’s apartment from above proves that Del Duca can draw.

Like I said in the beginning, this is the first issue, and I don’t like to wait. So if I could make a quick plea to Mr. Keatinge, Ms. Del Duca, and Mr. Image, I would appreciate it if you would toss tradition and marketing out the window and just release Shutter #2 now, so that my wait would be over. As it is, I suppose I should content myself with reader #1 again. It is a story of regaining one’s passion while holding tightly to the threads of the past…reach for the balloon and hold tight.



Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

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