It's no surprise that Shutter #20 channels Herge's Tintin from start to finish because author Joe Keatinge has been doing just that from the very beginning. Keatinge stated early on that he wanted Shutter to be an adventure comic that possessed some qualities of the old classics. Corto Maltese and Tintin are only two of the influences that helped create Kate Kristopher and the rest of Shutter's colorful cast. Artist Leila Del Duca uses a claire ligne style, as an homage to Tintin. Drawing parallels through flashback, between Kate's father and Tintin himself. The glaring difference is that Tintin was never a part of an Illuminati conspiracy... or was he? Nah, he wasn’t. As Kate and her newfound siblings prepare to wage war on Prospero (the aforementioned Illuminati-esque cabal that currently runs the world), she returns to meet with The General (her childhood nanny) at her lakeside mansion. Here The General reveals information regarding one of Kate's missing siblings, one who was never dragged into the life that she currently leads. Ultimately Kate decides to not reveal to her long lost sister who she is, and leaves her out of this conflict. This issue focuses more on Kate's father, much like issue #19, giving us a little more background regarding his past. During his training with The General, Christopher fell in love with a girl who lived across the lake. They had a child, but Christopher couldn't stay, so the child was raised never knowing him, and Kate made sure things stayed that way.
Shutter has always been an interesting comic, Keatinge and Del Duca's world is just so fantastic that it works. Nothing is ever fully explained as to why animals, robots, aliens, humans, and whatever else exists in this crazy fantasy world co-exist, but after the first few issues you learn to accept that. That's part of the charm of the comic, learning to accept certain truths as fact. Just as Kate tried to run from her past, she too learns to cope with it, and learn from it. After twenty issues the comic is beginning to get bogged down by darker and deeper plot, which is only natural. I'll be the first to admit that it isn't as fun as the wacky adventure comic that was the first five issues, but the added emotional heft was necessary to allow the characters room to grow. I feel like I always complain about comics after the story gets too heavy, and it's true, I like my comics light and entertaining (most of the time). Shutter's story strikes a nice balance between heavy emotional weight and light fantasy fare. Maybe that's why I've stuck with it for so long. Kate is a great protagonist, one whose story is fun to follow. Maybe I'm just afraid of the end, so I am reluctant to read on, worried that it will all fall apart.
Regardless, twenty issues deep Shutter remains a very solid comic. Del Duca's art is always a treat, especially with the added Tintin homage in this issue (big Herge fan here). And Keatinge's writing continually gets better and better. Sure, I’ll say that I enjoyed the wild and weird debut issue more than this one, and that's just me. But the truth is, this comic packs an emotional punch if you really follow the characters. It gets pretty sad, seeing Kate confess her love to Huckleberry after a series of vignettes depicting the rise and fall of their relationship a couple of issues ago. It's moments like that that really take you by surprise, and crush you. I look forward to those moments in comics, the moments when I need to put the book down and think about what I just read, and somehow tie it into my own life experience. Shutter can do that to you, all while having a gun-toting cat robot stabbing a cyber-lion with a machete. It's a weird comic to be sure, but one that I am very happy exists.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="pink" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 3/5[/button]
Shutter #20 Written by: Joe Keatinge Art by: Leila Del Duca Publisher: Image Comics Price: Print: $3.99 Release Date: 4/13/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital