Review: Cutter #4
Publisher: Top Cow/Image
Writer: Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey
Art: Christian DiBari
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Halloween has come and gone, which means Top Cow’s four-part miniseries Cutter has reached its bitter end. The short run has certainly gained momentum over the last three issues, with Napton, Fahey and DiBari creating a compelling ode to the classic slasher genre.
Following the last issue’s finale in which he was framed for the Sheriff’s murder, Jeremy wakes up in prison to find all the officers dead. Assuming the identity of a cop, he heads to a mental hospital to investigate Emily even further and manages to meet Emily’s sister Abby. She reveals the truth about what happened to her sister, and horrifies Jeremy in revealing what it was he did- or indeed, didn’t do- to Emily.
DiBari’s art work remains consistent and impressive, with the illustration in the prison scenes calling to mind Frank Miller’s work in Sin City; bold lines and silhouettes evoking the look and feel of a film noir. Albeit a film noir about a slasher girl unleashing her own brand of vengeful justice. The art work has remained the best part of the miniseries and has often made up for points where the plot or dialogue is lacking.
Napton and Fahey manage to crow bar a lot into this last issue; perhaps it would have been more effective and helpful to the story to have a longer series so as to fully develop all the ideas and plot development they would have wanted to explore. And while it is satisfying as a reader to finally learn why the events have taken place, the explanation for Emily’s motivation is grim, and refers to a subject maybe too serious for a bloody slasher gore-fest comic.
Cutter ends on a cliff hanger, which works well given the creepy, mysterious nature of the series and adhering to the archetypical ambiguous horror-movie ending, but what the story needed was closure and ultimately a resolution. The cliff hanger is also slightly underwhelming, which is disappointing given how intense and sinister the previous issues have been. Though one benefit to the ambiguous conclusion is that it leaves the door open to a second, perhaps a full series, which would allow Napton and Fahey to include all the gory intricacies they want.
And Jeremy, we get that you want your wife to leave town and go to her parents. We all understand it’s not safe for her. There’s no need to remind her and the reader every issue. There was a moment it seemed possible that his wife was somehow responsible, given that at this stage, anything was a possibility.
Cutter has been a good miniseries, even if it slightly let down by its conclusion. It has been sinister and intense, and it definitely gained momentum in its short run. DiBari’s art work remains a consistent highlight and arguably redeemed shaky plot and character development. His illustration and shading have created a palpable tension and elevated what could easily have been a mundane rehashing of slasher cult movies. A second run would be interesting, and hopefully this is just a taster of what the writers could bring to the genre. And if Cutter has taught us anything, it’s that we should always be painstakingly pleasant and helpful to everyone we encounter in our lives ever. And if not, hide the knives.