Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Leila Del Duca
The final issue of one of Shutter’s most harrowing arcs comes to an end with Shutter #17. Year Two has flipped the series on its head as it changed the character dynamics and setting. We have been introduced to a new government, a massive change in personalities, and a conflict that seems to be much bigger than the protagonists.
The issue opens up with the trial of Cassius, also known as Alarm Cat, as he deals with the consequences of the previous issue. The trial goes in an unexpected direction due to Cassius taking over, as continuing to show how much he has changed since losing his head a few arcs ago. The change is almost scary, with the once adorable mechanized cat meticulously shifting the blame from himself to an entire kingdom. Joe Keatinge has created one of the most fascinating characters of the year. The character has completely changed, but the transition feels so natural that it avoids feeling forced. Keatinge’s work with Cassius is just one example of how well he has handled his characters, as he has successfully pushed all of the main and supporting characters into being complex, fluid characters.
The story remains as interesting as ever, as Keatinge ensures that the series maintains solid pacing that continues to be engaging with a steady balance of dialogue and action. As usual, the events of this issue don’t go as planned, and things get exciting swiftly. The return of series protagonist Kate Kristopher marks a complete change in atmosphere as the trial goes from tense to hectic. This is easily the strongest and most memorable issue of the arc, as everything comes to a dramatic and tragic climax. Multiple characters are lost in Shutter #17 and the creative team effectively makes every moment hit the reader effectively.
Leila Del Duca is a huge reason why every moment of Shutter has so much atmosphere. Shes approaches every panel at effective angles that perfectly capture the moment. The panels make every moment, beat, and encounter as strong as they should be, and nothing escapes the reader due to the smooth sequences. The characters remain wildly expressive, even those that aren’t even human, and the reader can learn a great amount of what everyone is feeling without the need of text. The final few panels drum up excitement for the next arc as the reader gets one more look at the vital characters going into what will likely be another wild arc next year.
It’s really a shame that the best issue of this arc is the last one. Shutter #17 has some of the strongest dialogue and one of the most defining moments of the series. Joe Keatinge is really doing some of his best work in the series right now. Leila Del Duca continues to show why she is one of the most creative artists in the industry, as she continues to tell the story effectively with her sequential art. Now comes the grueling wait until February until the next arc. This is a great time to catch up if you somehow aren’t on board with the series yet.