Comic Book Reviews: SEVERED # 1 (of 7)

It's fitting that this book is released in the same week as Super 8- a film that prioritised character and heart over spectacle, and did so by revisiting the style of the classic Spielberg blockbusters- as Severed attempts to revitalise the horror genre in a similar fashion.

Written by Scott Snyder and Scott TuftArt by Attila FutakiPublished by Image ComicsIn stores now!Severed # 1 looks like an absolute dream- Attila Futaki's gorgeous, sumptuous visuals firmly root the reader in the story's hugely nostalgic, early 20th century setting- yet it feels like a nightmare brought to life. Eisner Award winner Scott Snyder and newcomer Scott Tuft fill each scene with such tension that every page turn is a dreaded action, with the sense of foreboding never easing for even a second. It feels like those moments in a nightmare just before the real horror hits you, where you sense something is wrong but you can't quite work out what. In this first instalment we are introduced to the main players- Jack Garron, a young runaway, and Frederick, who is rescued from an orphanage by the seemingly kind Mr. Porter, under the guise of becoming an apprentice for General Electric. However, as events unfold we begin to suspect that Mr. Porter may not be what he says he is, and half the thrill of this first issue is in trying to work out exactly what sort of threat he poses. It's fitting that this book is released in the same week as Super 8- a film that prioritised character and heart over spectacle, and did so by revisiting the style of the classic Spielberg blockbusters- as Severed attempts to revitalise the horror genre in a similar fashion, looking to the classics (the works of Stephen King in particular, who co-wrote the first arc of Snyder's award winning American Vampire) and eschewing the cheap-thrills of today's gore-ridden affairs. This is, without doubt, a horror story, but it is one where you care deeply about the characters involved, with the main fear stemming from what isn't shown rather than any explicit images. Having said that, the images- when they do come- are both frightening and stunning. Without any degree of hyperbole, Futaki's work here is amazing- this is one of the most gorgeous, visually effective comics I've seen in quite some time. The sense of time and place, as well as character expression, is evoked perfectly. I'm usually the sort of person that avoids the horror genre, but Snyder's work here (as well as in American Vampire) has proven tbat any type of story- regardless of genre- can be engaging as long as you place the characters front and centre. This comic is a must-read- I guarantee it will be the best purchase you make all week.

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Dean likes words. He also likes pictures. One day he would like to combine them to make a beautiful picture-word baby. Follow him @deanthreadgold for daily updates on all things comic book related (and some things unrelated).