Severed #1-#4 Review
Writers: Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Artists: Attila Futaki
Sometimes the truly frightening is slow. It’s very easy in modern times to think that things have to be gory to be scary, that is not the case and this comic series proves that. It builds the tension, at a steady pacing, knowing how effective the imagination can be, it feels like a movie in how the parts break down showing Scott Tuft’s experience in screen-writing complimenting Snyder’s ability in comics to produce something spine-chilling!
It’s a story set in the past too, which is what makes it more interesting! So many horror theories would have you believe that you have to have a modern mindset to scare today’s audience, that you have to scare your audience with what’s there now (nuclear power, atomic bomb etc.) but this story shows you that there’s still something scary about the past as it tells the story of Jack, a kid who has run away from a lucrative scholarship in music to ride the trains and find his father but out in the real world are very scary things.
I don’t want to give away what the main threat of what the story is so that summary is quite general. The first issue shows you the main threat and sets the tone, mood and atmosphere of the series beautifully with little titbits, hints and seemingly throw away lines that lead to future plot points. I’ve no idea how long this ongoing will be for but there’s definitely an end in sight and I’m firmly along for the ride!
Snyder is well known for his ability to craft a story with his recent acclaimed run on Detective comics, his current work on Batman and his American Vampire series at Vertigo and if those series, and this one, proves anything is that Snyder knows how to build tension and as you read the next 3 issues with a guess as to what’s coming, the tension in and mood in the book has you gripping the edges of the comic and eagerly turning every page, then when the tension is broken a little and there’s a scene depicting some heinous act or the aftermath of, the release is so satisfying you begin to question if you’re a bit of a Dexter.
The story and pacing done by Tuft and Snyder set this up but it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling if it wasn’t for the beautifully rendered artwork of Attila Futaki. His line work is sublime and every single facial shot is so expressive you could almost read the whole story without the word balloons. The Hungarian’s use of lighting, mood and dynamic movement jumps out of every page and he takes a page from Hitchcock as when the act of murder or disembowelment occurs (in the rare occasions when it does, there is a lot done with implication to build the tension further) it’s just off panel, you see the blood fly up on the killer but not the knife. You see the shadow of the kid being thrown etc.
This comic is a magnificent read, the only complaint or problem with it being that, at times, the writers are reaching to progress the story and the two young people it follows seem a little too trusting. The artwork is fantastic and will have you drooling on every page. I try not to gush and awe in my reviews but with this I must, this is creator owned work at it’s best, three guys telling a story they want to tell, their way with an end in sight. No mandate, very little constraint but the writers have still constrained themselves for the sake of the narrative. It. Is. Magnificent!