Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Leila Del Duca
Shutter is back! Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca have returned from a small break with one of last year’s best series just in time for Valentine’s Day. Shutter #18’s timing is perfect, with an issue full of romance that takes a look at one of Kate Kristopher’s past relationships, while also setting the series up for an arc that has been building up for the past year.
Following the harrowing trial in Shutter #17, the team is left somewhat broken, but still needing to press forward. Kate’s plan to “End the world” gets detailed here as she tries to get everyone on board. The issue leaps between the meeting and flashbacks that show the reader bits and pieces of Kate’s past life. These sequences are gorgeous, with a shift an artistic style that calls back to the golden age. The panels show very brief flashes of a relationship’s beginning and end, and while the reader never gets the full picture, there’s just enough there for the reader to connect. Keatinge knows what strings to pull and most readers will be able to see themselves in these panels, from the spark that ignites the honeymoon stage to the fights that start to hint at a lack of true chemistry. It’s an example of superb storytelling that feels authentic from beginning to end.
Of course, this issue doesn’t ignore the events of issue #17, and the absence of a few characters is certainly felt. While Kate is certainly driving the series forward, there are a few other characters with who are certainly invested in affecting Kate’s plans in some unknown way. This leads to a character arriving unexpectedly, which will surely turn this series upside-down sooner rather than later. There is an intense feeling of dread present in the final few pages, and readers should probably fear for the lives of some of their favorite characters. There will likely be some betrayal, thrown in here somewhere, which is definitely gonna suck.
Leila Del Duca enters the New Year showing why she was one of the best artists of 2015. Her flexibility is obvious with shifts in style throughout the issue, similar to what is done in Shutter #15. Her characters are incredibly expressive and there is always a hint of mystery present thanks to the pencils. The backgrounds in each panel all of a superb amount of detail, while still leaving just enough for the reader’s imagination. The past and present is juxtaposed flawlessly, with words and art coming together to seamlessly tie the present with Kate’s past together within just a few pages.