SHUTTER #1/ Written by JOE KEATINGE/ Art by LEILA DEL DUCA/ Colors by OWEN GIENI/ Letters by ED BRISSON/ Published by IMAGE COMICS
The first issue of Shutter opens to a touching scene between Kate Kristopher and her father. They are chilling out on the moon, thinking about all the possibilities the world has to offer young Kate. Fast-forward twenty years and the scene is dramatically different. Kate is cynical and alone (by choice). There is, however, a much larger scheme working in the shadows around Kate Kristopher.
It’s safe to assume that first issues of new ongoing series provide us with boring introductory material. That is not the case with Shutter #1. Keatinge has a keen sense for suspense as he constructs this issue. We do get background, but not so much that you feel you know what’s happened or what’s going on. We see Kate as a young girl traveling with her adventurer father to the moon. We then see Kate as a grown up, clearly disillusioned, in a New York City that is very different from our own. While providing background on Kate’s relationship, the two different time frames help establish a deeper, interesting storyline that makes the protagonist interesting in a way that grabs the reader’s attention.
Keatinge also sprinkles plenty of action into the plot. He provides brief glimpses into Kate’s relationship with her adventure-driven father. She learns how to handle a firearm when being chased by giant humanoid crocodiles and faces death against a Cthulhu-like sea creature. All of this brief action is established to feed the central conflict of the issue.
The mystery surrounding Kate’s environment and personal dilemmas are what makes this an excellent first issue. Kate clearly resides on Earth, but it is not an Earth the reader will recognize. A simple ride on the New York subway shows that the world is very different. A giant, yet sophisticated bull man shares the subway bench with normal looking humans, while a young satyr looking boy hounds Kate about her writing. These seemingly insignificant background characters help establish that Kate lives in a weird world. By the end of the issue, Keatinge proves that her roll in it is much more interesting than just a few odd pedestrians.
Del Duca’s art fits the science fiction tone that is established in Keatinge’s plot. The minute details she creates in each and every panel brings the environment around Kate alive. Everything from the red hair and freckles on the young satyr to the lifelike quality given to the flowers and blades of grass blend reality and fantasy throughout the issue. Gieni’s coloring also helps promote this visual aspect. The pastel color palette that is used for backgrounds is coupled with vibrant, rich coloring during action sequences. This helps draw the reader into the action sequences while creating a sense of calm during the more emotionally driven panels.
Overall, Keatinge’s excellent pacing and descriptive world building is enough to draw the reader into this new series. When coupled with Del Duca and Gieni’s art and coloring, Shutter #1 becomes a science fiction/adventure drama that is both interesting and thought provoking.