REVIEW: ‘Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 is published by Titan Comics, written by Francesco Dimitri with art by Mario Alberti. Leviathan Financing & Co. has gathered together some of the most accomplished experts from a variety of fields from all over the world in secret. Their reason is simple. They want to challenge them to the modern equivalent of the twelve tasks of Hercules. If they succeed they will be rewarded with vast riches and a secret only they will know.

Hiroshi Itou, Stella Orsini Del Giglio, Jirakee Walker, Mark Underwood, and Delroy are all leading members of their respective fields and they have never met each other before. And yet, they are about to head out on a series of challenges with life and death hanging in the balance. With only each other to depend on, will these individuals come together to overcome the obstacles before them? Or will they vanish from this spinning rock we call Earth?

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 presents readers with an intriguing primary premise, accentuated by a number of side elements that only the merest hints are given here. With a multi-billion dollar corporation holding a globe-hoping, heroic journey for the best and brightest of humanity, questions abound. The biggest of these, of course, is why. Why go through all this trouble? What do they get out of it by putting this contest on? In order to learn more, a person must complete the challenges. Only then will the secret be revealed. This tantalizing mystery is good enough of a pull to get the individuals gathered by Leviathan to sign on, including our aforementioned protagonists who get put together as one of the various teams.

The first of this team’s twelve tasks involves them helping a jazz musician. The catch is that no one has seen the musician for many years. So the first stop for our new adventurers is Barcelona, Spain. Here, they can have a chat with the musician’s brother and hopefully find a clue as to where his absent sibling might be found.

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 is built first and foremost on its cast. This is a dialogue-heavy book, though much of what said is interesting. Writer Dimitri does a good job of bringing the personality of his cast out in every exchange. No response from this group of geniuses ever comes across as mundane or completely predictable. Having said that, the overall intellectual expression of the bulk of the cast kept me from connecting with most of them. The one exception to this would be Jirakee Walker.

Walker is the one character that feels like an actual human. While everyone else feels like they are nothing but business, facts, and stoic superiority, she actually exhibits energy and enthusiasm. She’s still a genius. But she’s just one I feel like I could actually stand to hang out with for more than an hour. And it’s not even that I actively dislike the rest of the cast. They just struggle to endear themselves to me as they feed off of an overabundance of intellectualism in the book. I guess there is a reason the standard group dynamic in fiction usually contains a single, multi-noble prize-winning level intellect amongst them.

The art of Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 delivers its story through a lens that is equal parts rough and welcoming. While everything is clear within the panels, the linework is often a bit broken and doesn’t deliver a truly polished feel to its images. I don’t think this lack of a polished feel is a failure, more of a style choice on the part of artist Alberti. It would be a fail for me if it wasn’t for how it balances out the issue’s various settings.

The various locales and persons present in Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 could easily become intimidating to a reader. This is especially true for the extravagant gala Leviathan throws when they give the pitch for their little contest. While normally I would want all the elegance and majesty on full display, I feel this subdued effect puts the reader on an even footing with the cast. As the characters walk through crowds of the rich and powerful, as they themselves are, they barely notice the spectacle. The art style works an odd sort of magic, placing the reader in a space similar to the cast. With less detail given to all the surroundings and bedazzled individuals, the reader can follow the story at the same level as the cast.

This simpler approach is also applied to Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1’s lettering. Unfortunately, however, this is sometimes to its detriment. While things like dialogue boxes are best kept out of the way of the art, compromises often have to be made if the story is to remain clear. These compromises are often not forthcoming here. There are a couple of moments where the speaker of a line is not clear. This is often due to an unwillingness to place a bubble close enough to properly designate the speaker. Even lengthening the tail so that the point more clearly indicates who is speaking would have helped.

In the end, Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 delivers an interesting opening to its tale. There are several plot points that only receive hints, leaving more to be built on later, and it does a solid job of establishing its stakes in the back half of its tale. While it does these things well, focusing on a cast that often feels distant, and with an art style I can’t imagine will be for everyone, it certainly puts some hurdles in place to be able to fully enjoy this story. Nonetheless, if globe-trotting adventure shrouded in mystery sounds appealing to you, giving this book a read may be worth your time.

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 is available on November 11th wherever comics are sold.

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 
3.5

TL;DR

Cutting Edge: The Siren’s Song #1 delivers an interesting opening to its tale. There are several plot points that only receive hints, leaving more to be built on later, and it does a solid job of establishing its stakes in the back half of its tale. While it does these things well, focusing on a cast that often feels distant, and with an art style I can’t imagine will be for everyone, it certainly puts some hurdles in place to be able to fully enjoy this story.