Review: Cutter #3
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Writer: Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey
Art: Christian DiBari
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Image continues our new favourite four part vengeance-horror title Cutter, in which the seemingly used and abused Emily Higgins rises from the dead to punish those who wronged her when she was alive. It falls upon Jeremy Samuels and other potential targets to establish why this is happening and put a stop to her. But these targets are falling victim to Emily’s grisly murders, and Jeremy’s support unit is dwindling with every passing day.
While the last issue of Cutter focused on gathering the remaining classmates and antagonists of Emily’s, this issue follows Jeremy and Sheriff Ed following the backfired mission in which one of the many, many characters was decapitated. The pair decides to further investigate Emily’s past life to decipher the real reason behind these murders and put an end to them. While going down into her lair, they make the grim discovery of heads in jars (very Walking Dead season 3) and diary entries detailing specific crimes that had been made towards her; they range from the benign and asinine to humiliating. But we still don’t get an answer to the question of what actually happened to Emily, which makes sense seeing as the most serious crime- killing her- renders scribbling the act itself in her dream journal logistically difficult.
Cutter #3 contains a little more dialogue and less action than the last, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the investigation is important, and in itself creates more suspense as we still don’t get all the answers we need to explain Emily’s resurrection- if it even is Emily- and why it is she’s hacking at all her former classmates. The conclusion is a real cliffhanger, and without giving away too much, certainly puts our protagonist in a compromising situation.
And while the emphasis steers away from action scenes slightly, there is a lot more chilling imagery, like the jars of heads and her haunting silhouette. The world DiBari has created seems to get creepier every week, and the art work is especially impressive when you consider its consistency for a weekly four part series; the conclusion is guaranteed to showcase something pretty grisly. The art work continues to convey a frantic tension, demonstrated by the use of thumb prints to create shadow which adds a visceral quality to the panels.
The fact we still know relatively little about Emily’s former life and what it is that made her go all Carrie on her classmates has its disadvantages: while keeping their cards close to their chests creates suspense and makes for a compelling read, Napton and Fahey have made a four part series, which doesn’t allow them much scope to fully develop ideas and plot development. It makes us question how exactly they plan to wrap up this saga- which would definitely have been much more suited to a longer series- when they only seem to have scratched the surface. Hopefully they pull it out the bag and tie up all the loose ends without creating a rushed conclusion.
As for what happens in the last issue of what has been a pretty good four part run, one can only hazard a guess. This humble nerd is concerned for Jeremy’s wife Helen (remember her?), who is constantly phoning and mentioned as “being with her folks.” Something bad has to happen to her, geography doesn’t seem to faze dear Emily. This awful secret story will hopefully be revealed; and it must be something pretty grim to have caused all this chaos and carnage.
Cutter #3 is another consistent turn in what has become a pretty good and increasingly creepy thriller. The artwork, as always, trumps the overall content and dialogue, but even then this issue sees a real development in the story. The next issue will hopefully be an exciting and disturbing finale that answers all our burning questions regarding Emily Higgins. It’s almost sad to see it finish when it seems to be gaining such momentum.