Written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft
Art by Attila Futaki
I can’t say I’m onboard the Scott Snyder fandom yet. Apparently, he’s been doing incredible things with Batman and Swamp Thing, which I hope to read at some point. All I’ve read before now is the first volume of American Vampire, which was good, but didn’t blow me away. I was hoping Severed would really make me a fan of him, but I can’t say it really did that much.
Severed takes place in 1916, as a young man named Jack runs away from home in hopes of finding his father. He teams up with Sam, another runaway, in the quest to find him. Unfortunately, the two then run into a creature who looks like an old man but has sharp teeth, who seems to want to help the two even as their fates become inevitable to the reader.
Here’s the good part of the story: it’s a tense premise that generally works. The audience knows that things aren’t going to go completely well (although giving away at the start that Jack survives does hurt the tension some). And the monster, who goes by the name of Alan Fisher but is shown to have many names, is suitably creepy. We know he’s evil, but he also comes off as personable and nice, which just makes him that much more unnerving. Attila Futaki’s art is also very gorgeous, and works well for the violence and the slower scenes.
But the slower scenes end up being the book’s major problem, because there’s simply too many of them. This is a 7-issue mini-series, but I feel like it could’ve easily been 5 issues. Scenes of the characters just driving along and meeting people don’t really end up having much of a place in the series and just slow things down. The main problem with tension is that it either has to be released or get ramped up, and at some point, it’s just staying still. And when tension just stays still for too long, it’s no longer tense, it’s tedious. The book does pay off well in its ending, but it’s just a few pages too late.
Severed’s premise and artwork is sadly let down by its execution. If you’re a big horror fan, there’s something interesting in these pages, but it requires getting past some parts that just should’ve been cut.