By: Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft (writers), Attila Futaki (art)

The Story: “Part Two: New Skin”: We catch up with the orphan Frederick (with his new apprenticeship) and the runaway Jack (on a train). I’d argue that Frederick has got more trouble eating at him, but really, Jack has also got some problems that are ready to turn themselves into major pains in the ass. Luckily, he finds an ally of sorts and gets to Chicago, where everything will go according to plan in finding his father, right?

The Review: Attila Futaki’s art evokes. From the clouded moon, to the chuffing night train, to the old hobos with faces like melted wax, Futaki’s art is haunting. In the shots of Jack standing on the end of the boxcar, sailing over mist-covered ground, all the way to the sunrise over Chicago, a loneliness and distance pervades the art. The exceptions are moments of violence or flight from danger, which are no more comforting. Even the search for Jack’s father carries its own shadow to menace the outcome. And, there’s really no arguing that the art, especially around the Frederick plot line, is vividly clear. And tattoo guy is very creepy.

Simultaneously, Snyder and Tuft set their plot fuse to slow burn. Not only do many questions not have answers, but I’m not even sure that all the questions have yet been posed. The connections and axes of conflict are, as yet, elusive. What is the connection between Jack’s father and the salesman/tattoo guy? What’s up with Jack’s father? What is the role of the girl? Is she a red shirt, or will she have a major part to play? One of the things I’m also enjoying in the writing is the authenticity of the dialogue. Getting period dialogue right can be tough, but the flavor is definitely there. I would also have said that the dialogue was sparse, but on second look, the story is actually pretty dialogue heavy. The fact that my impression leaving my first read was that there wasn’t much dialogue means that it was so true to tone that it passed without my noticing, like any good writer’s tools should.

Conclusion: Severed is combining an authentic American horror story with haunting period art. Pick it up.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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