Shutter Volume 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca tells the story of Kate Kristopher, a former explorer, known for her many adventures in a fantastical world, somewhat like our own. After she decides to move on from that occupation, a family secret brings her back into the path of adventure and danger, and she will have to return to her old ways.
Now I knew nothing of Shutter before picking it up, and that was intentional. I wanted to read the book knowing that it would be a new experience. So I did not have an expectation going into it, and I was ready to be immersed. With that being said, I can say that Shutter is an interesting read. Being that this is only volume one, there will be plot points that will not get resolved, and you may leave with more questions and cliffhangers than answers, but that does not necessarily make it a bad read. It made me intrigued for a volume two. If I could describe this volume into one word, I would probably say that it is surprising. From the tonal shifts to the twists, you really cannot tell what is going to happen next. I have a feeling the spoiler section of this review may be longer than usual, because to go into the way the story tells itself I feel would give away some surprises that the book gives. So, I would say that the story is good for what it is. It is interesting, and it does make me interested for another installment, although it did take me a little bit of time towards the beginning to get into the world Keatinge and Duca established. On an art aspect, I would say that it is well done. The scenes have a lot of detail, and when there is an action scene, or a scene where a lot of detail is demanded, the art pulls through and is well crafted. Maybe it is because I just got done reading three spectacular graphic novels in a row that I was expecting to get wowed from the beginning. Although it is a good book, I would not put it on a higher pedestal than Anya’s Ghost, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, or This One Summer. Maybe it was because this was only one volume compared to a full story, or that it took me a little bit of time to get a consistent tone with the story, that I don’t hold it as highly as others I have reviewed, but I would not say that it was bad. It was interesting, and good for what it was trying to do. Maybe it is right up your alley. If you want a fantasy, somewhat dark, adventure where anything and everything is possible, you should check it out.
Since almost anything was possible in this story, a lot of songs came to mind when thinking of a good pairing. And while a lot of songs could match well with this story, I found myself coming back to the song Lightning Bolt by Jake Bugg when thinking of the book. In terms of energy, the two pair up well. The song has an upbeat tempo, giving off a little bit of a sense of craziness. It has energy pulsing through its melody. It is the kind of song you would play to get things going wherever you happen to be. I found this essence of energy in Shutter as well. The world set up in the book has it so that anything could happen at practically anytime. This leads to some intense, crazy scenes that have a lot going on. There is energy pulsing through the action, and the art captures the essence of the tension well. So in that sense, I could see the foundation of a good pairing. Also lyrically, I could see some similarities. For instance, in the song, the singer says the line, “Fortune, people talking all about fortune, do you make it or does it just call you?” In the story, Kate looks to find her own path after adventuring. She looks for her own future, her own “fortune”, not one predestined by her family name. But time seems to make her cross ways with her old self. Also, in the beginning of the song, the singer remarks how it is just an ordinary day when he gets in the bolt’s path (“Morning, it’s another pure grey morning. Don’t know what the day is holding when I get uptight and walk right into the path of a lightning bolt.”). This quick, sudden sense of action could be seen in the story too. Scenes of intense action sometimes come from places of calmness and ease. While a bunch of songs could be possibly matched with the mood of the story, I kept coming back to Lightning Bolt when thinking of a good pairing.
Notes/Moments (*SPOILER ALERT*)
This section is to point out some cool or noteworthy moments that happened in the book and why they are cool or noteworthy in detail, so if you haven’t read the book yet, you may want to hold off on reading this section just yet.
– I really liked to see the rooted interactions between Kate and Alain. You felt an actual sense of friendship between the two. And when the unexpected flashback happened, showing the first interaction between the two, I was captivated, and it actually ended up being one of my favorite parts of the book.
– So in the review, I mentioned how I had trouble towards the beginning of the book finding a consistent tone of the story. That is because the world was being set up as a combination of fantasy, science fiction, and humor. I didn’t really know how dark it was going to go, or how far they were going to go with the action. Again, I knew nothing going in, which I liked because it would be new. So there was humor, and some fascinating imagery. There were police in flying saucers, A pack of lion mafia-style mobsters, and a robot making cookies. So I thought it was relatively light hearted, but then that changed when a dragon burst from the body of a prison guard, in full detail for the most part. It kind of took me off guard, but I wouldn’t hold it against it. I did not know of the intended audience of the book, so maybe knowing that, I would have gone in with an idea of what I was getting into. It still had the same elements, just with a darker tint. Then, I was not expecting a newt looking creature to shoot a rocket into an apartment building for a desperate attempt to get money, a duck to crush a lion mobster’s larynx, and an anthropomorphic fox getting curb stomped. So an even darker tint. I guess it took me a little bit of time to find out how far they were going to go, which kind of distracted me when I was reading. Again, maybe this is where I should have looked into the book a little bit more before reading it. Maybe then the darker elements wouldn’t have detracted from the story as much as they did for me. Because I have nothing against dark material, it just wasn’t meshing well with the rest of the story to me.
Guest reviewer: Nick