“CUTTER” (Comic Review)Book and Comic Reviews,Books/Art/Culture,News Svetlana Fedotov
Bullied kids are always hot fodder for the next big horror hit. From CARRIE to WITCHBOARD, hell hath no fury like an angry teenager with supernatural powers. Digging deep into the pubescent mythos, Top Cow/Image’s latest, CUTTER, brings all that hormone-driven terror to the comic world. Reading like a fast-paced horror thriller, the story follows a group of loosely connected friends who are forced to face some dark secrets when their ranks start dying. While not the most original idea, the comic attempts its best at reviving the dated concept, resulting in a mixed bag of hits and misses.
The central figure of the story is Jeremy Samuels, your everyday patriotic American. With a wife and a baby on the way, everything is coming up Jeremy until the cops come crashing into his office. Turns out one of his old high school buddies was murdered the previous night and he was the last one to be seen with him. Turns out another old friend is dead as well, slashed and hacked in the most gruesome of manner. While Jeremy attempts to figure out who’s aiming for his old friends (and when it’s his turn to die), he’s plagued with nightmares about a girl he thought had long died herself. Soon, he’s convinced that she must be responsible for the recent terrors and the only way to stop the murders is to confront what had happened all those years ago.
One of the strangest things about the CUTTER is that it doesn’t seem to have been written for the comic audience as much as for a movie-going audience. Not only are the tropes incredibly common in your standard horror flick — such as the “lust” character of the group getting swiftly killed off or the incredulity of everyone but the lead — but the pacing is a lot quicker, as if the comic is on a time limit. Instead of the more common comic book format of beginning, rising action, and one reveal that usually leads to a cliffhanger, CUTTER opts for about three or four reveals, as if attempting to cram three or four issues into the first.
Essentially, the work feels as if the writers weren’t quite sold on the idea and decided that by showing all their cards at once, it would keep the reader more interested. Sadly, with such a strong focus on only the horror elements, a lot of character development is left by the wayside, and each unfortunate soul is left to wander the terrifying landscape with only a name and a face. Perhaps this is in part to one of the authors, Seamus Kevin, having a film background instead of a comics background, but with the addition of comic author Robert Napton, you figure there would be a more middle ground between the two mediums.
The art by Christian DiBari does have a bit more originality that its written counterpart, with genuine attempts at bringing the script to life. While there’s still a bit of a “learning” vibe with his art, especially when it comes to hard angles, he has clearly found his style with his sharp ink work and beautiful scratch-style shadows. Honestly, his gore and guts tidbits are where he really shines, creating horrid pieces perfect for late night creeps and is the definitely the standout of the entire work.