Severed #4

Story by
Art by
Attila Futaki, Bill Nelson
Letters by
Cover by
Image Comics

It's time for me to get out my "Severed" soapbox again. Just in case you haven't heard, Scott Snyder is co-writing a period piece horror story that features would-be minstrel Jack Brakeman (nee Garron) hitting the road to find his long-lost father, J. P. Brakeman. Jack has teamed up with a young lady (who dresses like a young man for her own safety) named Sam. The two of them have figured out how to make the most of Jack's talent and have been working towards finding Jack's father.

Unfortunately for them, they've happened across a murdering maniac who, quite literally, has a taste for kids. Snyder and Tuft have spent just as much time in the past three issues building up the evil blackness in the maniac's soul by having him assume identities with which he breezes through lives, claiming them as his own. Jack's blinded by an offer from the murderer to join him on a ride down to Mississippi, but Sam wants Jack to reconsider. Sam tries to talk Jack back into taking the train like they originally planned.

From there everything falls apart. Just as it seemed Jack and Sam were going to find a new, special connection in their relationship, Alan Fisher (the current identity of the cannibalistic bastard) plays one against the other. Jack and Sam have a falling out, find their connection again and lose it once more, tragically and horribly. Snyder and Tuft run the full gamut of emotions with the story here, giving us scenes that are heart-warming, heart stopping, and heartbreaking.

This series has impressed me each and every issue. I keep claiming it will be a phenomenal read when collected, but each new issue grabs me by the back of the neck and entertains me so much that through the past two issues I've realized upon completion that somewhere in the last quarter of the story, I've stopped breathing.

Through it all, Attila Futaki has delivered some very stylized, realistic art. In certain spots, Futaki reminds me of Norman Rockwell, given the wholesome, simplistic settings that are sprinkled throughout the story. Just as quickly, however, Futaki is able to channel an inner connection to Bernie Wrightson and finds a whole new level of creepy to drop on us readers. Futaki is inked in this issue and the result is a set of visuals that gets a little clunky in some spots, but not so much that the art loses any splendor.

Heartwarming and senses shattering, this story has delivered so much more than I ever expected. Now that it is half done, and the unexpected happened in this issue in a hideous, horrible way, I'm looking forward to what new surprises Snyder and Tuft are going to throw our way.

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