Cannibals are creepy enough, but cannibals who prey upon children are about the worst possible nightmare you could throw into a comic. That is exactly the type of horror Scott Tuft and Scott Snyder have jammed into every issue of "Severed," and the series finale is no exception.
Alan Fisher, the child-eating salesman and cannibal in question, has the story's protagonist, Jack Garron, trapped in the house that once belonged to Jack's father. Jack, a runaway pursuing a pipe dream of playing fiddle with his long-lost dad, was lured into this trap over the past six issues. Trussed up like livestock ready for slaughter, Jack can't help but listen to Fisher's plans for him as Fisher carries on in a most disturbing conversational tone that would make Hannibal Lecter salivate.
"Severed's" final chapter answers some questions, raises some more and shows just how disturbing cannibalism can be. In the first issue of this series, we meet an older Jack Garron and the series spins out of his recollections. Here, Tuft and Snyder wrap those recollections in the most disturbing way possible. That is in the first few pages of this issue.
I made the mistake of not only reading this after I had eaten, but also reading it in public, where non-comics readers could stare out of the corners of their eyes as I gasped at the horror before me. Jack's fate is terrifying and unsettling. Fisher's attack is brutal. The story is memorable and impressive.
Briefly, I imagined trying to explain it to those people who heard my reactions, then I considered just showing them this issue. Except I realized that this story has to be read from start to finish to be appreciated for its eerie brilliance. Simply throwing this final, blood-soaked installment in front of someone would certainly cause even more discomfort than simply overhearing my gasping.
The story fueled my reactions, but Attila Futaki and Greg Guilhaumond's art pours darkness onto the pages. Turn of the Century houses have a certain unsettling quality to them in the rawness of their electrical systems, the creaking floorboards and the echoing ventilation systems. Futaki captures the unsettling nature and Guilhaumond makes it tangible.
The end of "Severed" is satisfying. Though rather disappointing in its finality, Tuft and Snyder do offer a tease at the end that may or may not be called upon in a future tale. This is the type of comic that transcends the medium, ready and waiting to jump to another form. If that next incarnation is half as riveting as this story is, then it will be destined to be a critical classic.