Saturday, September 17, 2011

Severed #2 – A Review

Severed #2
Writer Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Art Attila Futaki
Publisher Image Comics
Price $2.99
This series has an unease and creepiness to it that is hard to generate in a comic. I often think that horror plays better in a written book as the horror is on a more personal level. What we can generate in our imagination often is the scarcest stuff out there. I also think a moving picture can generate suspense and therefore static pictures lose some of the visceral feeling that a horror story should generate, Severed overcomes those limitations and manages to tell a great story and yet put a chill in your heart. 

The story is set in 1916 and is the story of a young boy in search of his father. This issue specifically records the struggles of Jack in recovering his possessions from an older hobo on a train and his bonding with his friend Sam. As Sam and he reach the city and await the show where Jack hopes to met his father we find out Sam is actually Samantha. She disguises herself as a boy to keep from being picked on even more as Jack and Sam are both only around 12 years old. Jack fails to actually met his Dad and is given a lead on where he maybe, Sam concocts a plan for Jack to play the fiddle to earn them traveling money. At the same time the killer is on the loose and the grim remains of another child have been found. The killer called the Salesman, as that is the guise he uses, is a cannibal and we get to see the results of his appetites. Although Jack and the killer’s path have not crossed we know the inevitable is coming.

The slow build generates the fear and creepy feeling. You know it is going to happen and at the same time you know these two children are always facing possible dangers roaming the streets on their own. Setting in the early half of the 20th Century make the book feel real. These types of events occurring back then and children being hobos and going unnoticed is believable in 1916, not so much today. I guess it could happen today, but the setting make the story even more real. 

As for the art, Attila Futaki creates such a beautiful realistic look that you are drawn into the story immediately. The expressions are great and Jack and Sam look like children without looking ridiculous. So many artist cannot get children right, especially at the middle ages or pre-teen years. I also appreciate the straight grid panel design. Not that ever page is the same, some are one page splashes and some have nine panels, seven or other amounts; put it all is serving the story. The reading and flow of the story was very easy. Co-Writer Scott Snyder always knows when to let the pictures tell the story and when to add dialogue. Scott Tuft the other writer is either listening to Scott Snyder or gets it also. 

I’ll have to search the web to see an interview with the two or try to do one myself, but this writing team is a hit with me already. The whole story feels well crafted and the pacing has been perfect so far. I have faith in this team to deliver a winning product from beginning to end.

All in all this is a great horror story that is both subtle and overt and brought to life by an artist who is someone to look for in the future.

Why do comics suck, this time they don’t. This time comics show why they can be one of the best forms of storytelling.

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