This Week’s Finest: Shutter #28

by Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca & Owen Gieni

In the first year of Nothing But Comics, Shutter was almost universally beloved among our staff from it’s debut for it’s massive and complex scope of imagination. Now approaching three years since the series debut, Shutter has often shifted and evolved in a myriad of unexpected and interesting ways; yet at it’s core, that scope of imagination has remained the comic’s heart which in turn, makes the aforementioned evolution and shifts all the more interesting. Issue #28 feel’s like a point where all of that coalesces and everything in the book has led up to this moment. True to form; the quality of craft and creative use of visual story telling for writer Joe Keatinge, artist Leila Del Duca & colorist Owen Gieni engineer as profound an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the books current arc that encapsulates so much of what makes the comic special. 

Issue #28 follows the lead on the series most recent issues in using flashbacks from main character Kate Kristopher’s life in the general time period of when the series started to answer questions and create contrasts with the books current story-line. Issue #28 focuses on the relationship of Kate with Cat Clock/Cassius. How Del Duca & Keatinge do so is highly inventive for a series that’s modis operandi is highly inventive by placing panels of Kate’s memories with Cat Clock over the panels of her fighting Cassius in god form during the present, highlighting the current arc and issue’s theme of learning to let go. It’s a brilliant concept that culminates in a beautifully rendered full page collage of moments between Cat Clock & Kate’s past with their conflict in the center before and explosive full page spread follows it in the present, symbolizing the literal destruction of Kate’s sentimentality for Cat Clock. It’s a brilliant use of visual storytelling through the medium of comics that’s followed from some extra sharp Joe Keatinge dialogue between Kate and a police officer while they watch they watch a galactic jellyfish rise out of the wreckage into the sky to create a better multiverse before Del Duca has Kate literally deconstruct and fade into a white page. The entire sequence is poignant, thoughtful and incredibly heartfelt
On a purely technical level, artist Leila Del Duca & colorist Owen Gieni composite one of comics best and most consistent art teams on a current ongoing title. Del Duca shares similarities with modern master craftsmen like Stuart Immonen, Joelle Jones or Bengal in her mastery of page geometry and how she utilizes that for awe inspiring  widescreen visuals. But Del Duca is a little more idiosyncratic; her style leans more towards the cartoonish side with a slightly rougher line. That anesthetic’s proven to have an incredible range which is essential to Shutter’s adaptability and anything goes ethos. Colorist Owen Gieni, a singular comics artist in his own right, has been a constant for the series with his eclectic and vibrant color palette. His hue’s consistently set the books setting while giving a fuller character to the comics individual actors. In #28, the two are working in the upper echelon of their abilities with several pages that are simply stunning. While Shutter is at least partially a product of Keatinge’s out sized imagination, the work of Del Duca & Gieni have been the chief architects in realizing the comic’s unique vision and #28 is one of their most impressive outings for how much they accomplish within the limited economy of space afforded to them through limitations of a single issue comic.

For a comic book that has consistently upended expectations and felt limitless in it’s creativity, #28 is especially impressive in those regards. It’s a whirlwind single issue that captures the readers attentions and stays with you long after you’re done reading, with dense writing and visual storytelling that squeezes every ounce of potential story out of a single issue comic’s natural restrictions. If you’ve been here since the beginning, Shutter #28 is all the things you loved about the series from the start; but it’s bigger, bolder and more effective then ever before. In short, it fulfills it’s original promise; the massive and complex scope of it’s creators imagination fully realized.

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