Has it actually been a month since this title wrapped up its first act? It did not seem that way to be sure. But I would say it didn’t seem that way only because the 12th issue of this funky fantasy powerhouse of a series was just too damned amazing. Issue #12 satisfied in every way possible, earning a perfect score from me and giving me the best issue of the series in a title of fantastic issues to begin with. They have all been good. And I am not kidding when I write this. They all have all been good. Shutter has been a series that has built block upon block upon block of funky freshness and incredible storytelling combined with super amazing art that puts it up there as one of my favorite monthly series. I literally can’t wait to see what happens next in the continuing saga of Kate Kristopher, former child explorer superstar and current grown up bad ass heroine. The glistening and multicolored sky is the limit here as we enter into a new act and issue. I am ready.
So what has happened since we last experienced the hydrogen bomb of a wrap from Issue #12? Peace, mellow, and calm (What?) These are the feelings portrayed that start this issue. We see a cover that has Kate sitting at an outdoor café, looking relaxed, chilling with the super fantastical characters that have become the norm within this title. Things are chill. Or are they? Subtle hints are everywhere starting with the cover and they continue as the pages turn. Both writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca are a bit aloof at the start, making the reader earn their take on the calm that is portrayed. Or actually I should say in seeing the un-calm that is around. But you really have to work to see it. Thisngs are laid out to trip you up. I mean we have Venice, Italy as a setting. We have a kindly old lady acting as caretaker and guide to Kate. We have smooth picture montages of Kate’s life. And we have Kate herself. Still devoid of thought of who she is or what she is about, but at peace for the time being in working the pieces out. At least on the surface anyway.
As I have mentioned, signs are there, but Keatinge and del Duca disguise the reality, urging us to pay attention and allowing us to say “oh yeah” once the secret parts are revealed. It really is quite ingenious and both Keatinge and del Duca are in on it with their work. Both work together to trip the reader up, offering little clues and bringing back memorable characters who have been absent for quite some time in a strategy to throw you slightly off your guard. It is always nice to see Harrington at work by the way. The baby pics with him are classic.
But not only Harrington makes a return. Someone long since gone and a new character also is introduced that just goes to show you that the bomb may have been dropped last issue, but life still goes onward. And so does this tale. Which is a very good thing.
I think that it is so easy to go soft after a sweet run of arcs. You know the type of story? One that kind of rests on its laurels. Throwing some filler in to tide the reader over until the intensity can be turned back up. I thought that was what was happening here at first. But I was wrong, dead wrong. Everything to start this issue feels soft. But softness fades very quickly proving to be a façade. Things return back to how they have been through many issues, showing us that it was never soft at all. It has been as hard assed as always.
Kate may have lost her thoughts and has no since of herself. But everyone else in this issue do have an idea and they are all working against each other to play her as some super trump card to claim ultimate victory from whatever it is their end games are. All play up to a wonderful crescendo of emotion that made me realize that even if the first act may be complete, act number two looks to not let off the gas at all as we reach whatever it is we are supposed to get to when the dust settles on Kate’s life. Oh, and did I mention that yet another surprise ending reveal is brought to our attention on the very last panel? Keatinge and del Duca never let up. And neither should you. Read Shutter and enjoy. Enjoy every delectable and delicious morsel of it.