Before I say anything else about Shutter #3, I gotta say that this issue looks phenomenal.
I guess this really shouldn’t be a surprise, as previous issues displayed plenty of creativity and personality through the lens (pun slightly intended) of Shutter’s colorful setting, but I think this issue in particular gives artist Leila Del Duca so much to play around with that I had to sit back and take note. Facial expressions, well-detailed backgrounds, fantastical creatures, brutal eviscerations – all are rendered with an equal amount of proficiency by Del Duca. A quiet scene between Kate and her friend on a train is just as effective as a man being disemboweled by a katana. And what’s most impressive is that she’s not just flexible in what she draws, but also in how she draws it. The opening scene of the book is drawn in a style that resembles a Sunday newspaper cartoon or a children’s book, complete with tiny panels and flatter, softer images. And this somehow transitions perfectly into the series’ typical style, with a wider, more three-dimensional scope and a heavier reliance on light and shading. The scene itself is either hilarious or heartbreaking, depending on your tendency for sadism. It was a little bit of both for me.
Before writing this review, I did a quick search for Leila Del Duca on the web and sadly found very little aside from previews of Shutter, her own website, and her various social media pages. She’s done web comics, collaborations, and has even self-published, but as far as I know this is her first big break into mainstream comics. And if she continues to do the kind of work she does in Shutter, I hope her tenure in the big leagues proves long and fruitful.
Additionally, Del Duca is in the very capable hands of writer Joe Keatinge, who’s taking Shutter in all sorts of interesting directions.
Following an assassination attempt, Kate Kristopher decides to return to her father’s, hoping it won’t explode like her last housing situation did. I criticized previous issue because I thought Kate just wasn’t that interesting as an adventure protagonist, but this issue made me change my mind. Maybe it’s just taken me this long to get invested in her story, but I’m completely onboard with the mystery of her siblings and her relationship with her dead father when I was mostly lukewarm to it before. I’m especially excited after that last page cliffhanger (this comic is a little too good at cliffhangers).
Kate’s central story is also surrounded by some pretty neat characters, like her roommate, an walking, talking kit-kat klock, a mobster lion with nothing to lose, and Kate’s friend Alain, who in this issue is revealed to be transgendered woman (Side Note: the way in which Alain is shown to be transgendered is extremely classy and never feels token or out of place. Good on you, Mr. Keatinge).
While I’ve felt Shutter was a decent comic from its first issue, it just didn’t grab me immediately like a lot of other Image Comics titles have with their #1’s. Maybe I just needed time to warm up though, because I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this series in the coming months.