There are things in this world that just give you an eerie feeling. Something in the pit of your stomach that tells you something isn’t right. That there may be something out there waiting to strike at any moment. This feeling is definitely prominent in the first issue of a new limited series called “Severed.”
“Severed” is a new limited series by Image Comics, written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft with art by Attila Futaki. Scott Snyder is an up-and-coming writer whose first series, “American Vampire,” won him an Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2011. Along with that the first five issues were not written by him, but the master of horror writing himself, Stephen King.
The story is told through flashback by Jack Garron who refers to the incident only as “The Nightmare,” which occurred when he was 12 growing up in Jamestown, Penn. in 1906. It turns out that Jack was adopted and runs away from home one night to meet his biological dad in Chicago.
We also see another boy named Fredrick who is offered an apprenticeship at General Electric by a man named Mr. Porter. Right away you get an uncomfortable feeling about Mr. Porter. He just has that look about him, like a man who has ulterior motives. He seems to be hiding something.
The plot for this issue is really grounded and realistic. The early 20th-century setting where everything was new and exciting in America, yet dark for the rest of the world, really works. There is this feeling of darkness that you can’t explain but you know that it is coming. Also the fact that the main characters are not only children but children who are on their own, which can be very unsettling. This may seem exciting but it’s mostly dangerous.
Jack learns pretty quickly while he is on a train bound for Chicago where he is robbed and almost thrown off the train. Fredrick learns that things aren’t always what they seem with Mr. Porter when he takes him to a practice house. While this is expected and the reveal is a bit of a letdown you still genuinely feel scared for Fredrick.
This issue wasn’t outright scary but it had this feeling that things aren’t what they seem. Something about this is just unnerving and unsettling. However, it doesn’t try too hard to creep us out like most horror films do today. It slowly builds and takes us to where the story wants us to go. It also helps that the two main characters are children and not teenagers or adults. We don’t want bad things to happen to children so this makes it very unnerving.
The overall feeling of the issue is greatly enhanced by the artwork of Attila Futaki. His landscape and his use of color make the images hauntingly beautiful. Also, the overall design of the cover and the interior makes it look more like an actual novel rather than a comic book.
While not flat out scary Severed is definitely one series that you shouldn’t miss.