Even with all its casual violence, and its twisting plot involving conniving siblings, ‘Shutter’ always manages to charm, and it did it in spades this week.
If you’ll remember, Alarm Cat nearly lost its life when losing its head, and this issue wrestles with the realities of that for our poor robotic cat that looks like a Felix Clock. This sounds very sad indeed, but the plot is introduced is downright magical. We are treated to “Alarm Cat Funnies” in the beginning which tells the story of how Alarm Cat and his brethren came to be through a series of Sunday comic parodies. From ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Garfield’ to ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and the ‘Family Circus,’ we learn about how a man named Percival created Alarm Cat because he missed his beloved childhood cat. A few commentaries on capitalism later (‘Family Circus’ being changed to ‘Production Circus’ with a circular frame of workers underscored with “Quit struggling! At least you get to leave!”, and ‘Cat Trot’ making a comment on how the workers can’t afford these Alarm Cats), Alarm Cat makes it to Kate on her 25th birthday, where she says he’s “absolutely perfect.”
It’s strange how two pages of parody can be both funny and sad, but ‘Shutter’, as it always does, pulls it off magnificently.
In any case, it’s back to the action of the last issue! As you’ll recall, Kate was just stabbed by her sister, and her fate is unknown. Fortunately for us -so we can keep on reading about her exploits- she is alive but not exactly well. She has been stabbed after all. Her sister, who is revealed to be Kalliyan, introduces Kate to her world, showing the after-effects of Kate and her father’s exploits. While they flit from one to place to another, they leave behind death and destruction, though why exactly is left heavily implied to the reader but never specifically stated. In the end, Kalliyan states that everyone is beginning to piece together that Kate’s father is still alive (anyone still in for the theory that the father is actually just Christopher?) and there are a lot of people that are going to be after him. She then says they need to find the person who hates Kate’s father the most: Kate’s mother.
This would be a very ominous ending, but instead ‘Shutter’ ends a slightly more pleasant note. The chapter closes with Christopher looking for a head for Alarm cat, and ends up crudely drawing a face on a burlap sack. Alarm Cat declares it “absolutely” perfect, and falls into Christopher’s arms in a poignant moment that shows that no matter how crazy the world of ‘Shutter’ gets, the writing of Joe Keeating in combination with the art of Leila Del Duca always knows how to get you emotionally involved.