Writer Joe Keatinge has a too-cool story to tell, and he wisely gives it to an artist who has the vision to help execute it — a story that Leila Del Duca does indeed bring to life in “Shutter” #2. After establishing last issue the dynamic between a father, latest in a family line of explorers, and his daughter Kate who’s less than anxious to continue her family’s legacy, Keatinge and Del Duca in this issue take the time to themselves explore this fascinating world they’ve created, one that’s very down-to-earth in a way most of us can relate to, but at the same time filled with so much whimsy and wonder.
Keatinge and Del Duca’s world is a riveting and timeless urban landscape, where zeppelins dock near spires of modern skyscrapers, and antique futuristic robots cruise the skies in a flying Rolls Royce convertible. These kinds of details in Del Duca’s panels beg the same kind of scrutiny evocative of comics like Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s “Astro City,” or Alan Moore and Gene Ha’s “Top 10,” where it always pays to both look up into the skies as well as down into the gutters. Readers are like tourists to this strange new city, stopping to look at everything while its citizens rush by, indifferent to its own spectacle. Kate is ironically one of these inhabitants, as the daughter of an adventurer who’s disinterested in not just the world but the very city around her. She’s all but oblivious to it, at least until the events of the story make her sit up and take notice.
While focusing on the disparity between a blase Kate (former writer and now photographer, hence the comic’s title) and a world full of surprises surrounding her, Keatinge and Del Duca takes readers on their own tour, making them all-too-willing de facto explorers of their own. In doing so, they bring forth a question about Kate: in such a fascinating landscape, why would she not want to see more of it? It’s a question that Keatinge begins to touch on with the character, who seemed disinterested in more than just her environment.
With a lot of this exposition laid out last issue, Keatinge focuses more on the action this time, as Kate is aggressively pursued by a wide array of strange characters in a continuation from last issue’s cliffhanger. It’s a pretty lengthy and attentive sequence, highlighted by the sheer increasing weirdness of it all. This sequence leads to some additional and sinister revelations about Kate’s family, beyond her father. Del Duca’s diverse assortment of characters makes for some pretty lighthearted moments as the issue progresses; a humanoid lion adorned in old-school striped prison garb is comically effective, looking like something out of a dream influenced by a Three Stooges marathon.
“Shutter” #2 is a seriously delightful fantasy/adventure that’s difficult not to like. Del Duca’s imaginative art plays incredibly well with Keatinge’s whimsical story, and both creators excel at keeping readers guessing and eagerly anticipating next issue.