Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It Came From the Back Issue Bin! #24: Severed (Issues #1-7)

by Jason Shayer

Writers: Scott Snyder/Scott Tuft
Artist: Attila Futaki

Severed is a seven issue miniseries put out by Image Comics. The seventh and last issue doesn’t go on sale until February, so I had thought about waiting a month or two to write up a complete review of this story, but that wasn’t fair. I couldn’t wait a moment more to get behind this great book. What is fair is the heads up you’re getting from me now to run to your local comic book store and get caught up on this series before it wraps up.

Severed is set in 1916 and it’s a coming of age story of a young boy named Jack Garron who has run away from home to find his biological father. Fueled by their letter correspondence, Jack races across the country searching for him as he’s apparently a traveling musician. All the while, Jack is unaware that a cannibal killer has selected him as his next victim.

Severed is a genuinely creepy comic book that has managed to tap into something unique in the comic book world today. From the creators: “Severed is meant to work the way good horror movies used to …movies that slowly build up an unsettling creepy feeling before showing their teeth. This build up will happen over the entire series of Severed with the horror coming from a deeper place… from the shadows… where it quietly lurks, waiting for just the right moment.”

It’s paced differently than most comics with a slow burn, but the book’s historical setting and compelling, driven characters more than make up for it.

The art by Attila Futaki has a subtle style, similar to a Phil Winslade, and captures the feel of a coming of age America that parallels the protagonist’s story arc. The turn of the century America is richly depicted and heavily researched, highlighting America’s passions from baseball, to its music, to its trains and budding technologies.

The covers are beautiful and disturbing at the same time. You try to take in the lavishness of the scenery on the cover, but your eyes keep getting drawn back to the disturbing images of the cannibal killer tearing through the fourth wall.

Severed is simply one of the most powerful horror comics released in recent memory and is brutally effective in wrapping its cold claws around your heart and tugging. And there were certain parts where I was actually cringing and cautiously turning the pages.

--Jason Shayer