Warning, you may not want to read this review if you haven’t read Shutter #1 and #2, which I highly, highly recommend, by the way. There is nothing to dislike about this comic. Nothing. With its amazing fantasy filled vision of an alternate Earth, stunningly vibrant art by Leila Del Duca, and strong and interesting female protagonist, (who is fully clothed, by the way, added bonus) what’s not to love?
As mentioned, Shutter takes places on an alternate Earth full of pretty much every fantasy creature imaginable. Talking cats? Got it. Lizard girls and minotaurs commuting to work on the subway? Yep. Written by Joe Keatinge, Shutter follows Kate, a former explorer and novelist who comes from a long line of adventurers. If you ignore the fact that she lives in a completely amazingly fantastic world, it begins in a familiar fashion. As the story goes, girl has awesome dad who takes her on adventures; awesome dad passes away. Girl “retires” and wallows. Pretty common storyline so far, right? Well it is, until purple ghost ninjas try to kidnap her. Yep, incorporeal purple ninjas who try to shove her in a purple crystal and take her away in a spaceship. Did I mention I love this comic?
When we left off in issue #2 Kate had escaped the ninjas and learned that she was not, in fact, an only child as she believed, and that retirement was not really an option. She has a sister. Oh yeah, a sister who is trying to kill her. A sister who can apparently jump into a host and take on the form of a parasitic zombie dragon? Shutter #3 continues about there, retirement over. Not only is her sister after her, but apparently assassins have been hired. Several of them. Not but a short while after she survives the purple ninjas of doom, her apartment is bombed by one of these would be assassins, a down on his luck salamander assassin, who just wants to earn some money to pay his alimony. (A job’s a job, right?) When her best friend, Alain, is injured in the blast, she decides to retreat out of the city to her family home. The family home, of course, is a beautiful spooky mansion complete with an awesome skeleton butler who calls her “Madam Kathryn.”
What else is there? Oh yeah, a mother f’ing fox samurai riding a dinosaur! There’s that. That was pretty sweet. (No really, I love this series.) The writing is extremely well done, the panels are never boring, and the dialogue is witty and amusing. Take, for example, the scene with the fox samurai. Despite the fact that the character is currently slaughtering everything in sight, literally painting the walls red, and the art is supremely graphic and gory, as a moment of humor, the writer has decided the foul language is just one toe too far over the line. So he self sensors the dialogue with very amusing asides.
“For the last (expletive deleted) time…. keep your (what does that even mean?)ing mouth shut about the (How can one person even articulate that?)”
This sort of writing is exactly my style. It’s clever and witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously while at the same time presenting an amazingly well written plot. I seriously have to know what happens next. The obvious Japanese influence is awesome for me, too. Then there’s the art. The art is stunning. Every panel is just chock full of things to look at, beautiful vibrant colors, I find myself just wanting to stare at it.
I highly recommend this comic. It’s as if Keatinge said, “You know what? I’m going to take everything I loved as a child, and everything that would be super awesome and badass and put it in one comic.” Boy am I glad he did. Shutter is a must read.