When it comes to graphic storytelling medium, one of (if not the hardest) storytelling genres to translate has to be the Horror Genre. From where I sit, the biggest problem isn’t the quality of the stories (as there have been many from the past 3 years alone), but the translation of the feeling of sheer and utter fear is harder to bring across on a medium that relies on static pictures instead of moving ones. However, the one that has served the genre well in recent times has been the absolutely strong plot and character driven writing that has severed to make a number of these books transcend the genre to become classics in their own right. Can Severed #6 serve as yet another landmark as this story makes its case for that status? The answer is a very empathetic yes.
Over the past 2 years, Scott Snyder has become one of the fastest rising stars, using his sometimes unbelievable skills to not only tell good stories, but to create worlds that people want to get invested in, something that “Severed” accomplished with me the minute I leaned that it would take place amidst World War I and one of the purest “land of opportunity” periods that the United States ever experienced. In fact, I was so hooked on that part of the premise that the one aspect of the book that disappointed me was the fact that the horror story took so much precedence over the story of traveling over an America where it was easy to erase your past life. However, over the 4 subsequent issues from Issue #1, Snyder and Tuft have been able to not only to sate my appetite for a story across an America where the rules of society are still being written, but have been able to bring the wonder and horrors hidden within that wonder closer together. What makes this particular chapter so special is that both the freedom of the times and the horror aspects finally come together as Jack is finally near his goal. As the pages go along, our main character learns the situation that he finds himself in and how his ambitions may have been manipulated to reach this point. With their goal in their sights, the writers pace this chapter nearly perfectly, as they make every word spoken (and written) leap off the page, with fully fleshed out characters you have truly grown to care about the over the previous 5 Chapters. The end result is not only another win for Scott Snyder, but a growing curiosity to see what Scott Tuft can do on his own.
For as much as I praise Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft’s writing and plotting skills, I can say without reservation, that this title wouldn’t be anywhere near as strong without the art team that helps to bring the ideas of their writers to life. With this issue being the climax of the story, the art team uses the opportunity to ratchet up the horror atmosphere up to 11. From the cover to the last page, Futaki uses every last drawing of the characters and backgrounds to set the tone and mood this story masterfully portrays. Not to be left to its own devices, Guilhaumond’s skillful use of multiple color tones, give each environment its own personality, something that gives the final sequence in this comic the true horror feel that many comics of this type miss, adding yet another layer to an already densely layered work. Finally, the letter work of Fonograpfiks must also be praised, as the font used for the recap and letters page give this book another layer of authenticity that helps to make this book feel like it is from that romantic, adventurous and dangerous era. When all is said and done, there isn’t a piece of the art that feels rushed or phoned in, giving this book a polish that I wish more had.
The Final 22 Cents:
Over the past 6 months, “Severed” has proven to be one of my favorite reads. Its stunning visuals, gripping characters and engaging story have helped this experience remain near the top of the pile month in and month out. With only the last chapter to go, I can safely say that every week we get closer to that conclusion is every week my hype for it builds and builds. If you haven’t started reading this story yet, do yourself a favor and hunt down the past 5 issues if at all possible so you can partake in the finale next month. If that’s not possible, then look for the trade that’s sure to come sooner or later. “Severed” will most certainly prove to be worth the money.
Final Judgment: 9.5