COFFIN BOUND, ISSUE #3
Writer: Dan Watters
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
An oddball, Milligan-esque take on wrapping your life story before you get taken out by an assassin.
Not just any assassin, though. One summoned from the bowels of somewhere by an overzealous ex-lover who's channeling the spirit of poetry.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Izzy's fresh off her first confrontation with the big-bad and bound for failure, even as she tries to make past sins right.
Taqa's also on a journey influenced by Paulie and the girls but, ultimately, made beautiful through destruction. She gains agency as Izzy experiences heartbreak and the first real emotion we've seen from her so far.
And the Eartheater marches on, to a tune unknown to all but him. Tra-la-la.
Coffin Bound is weird, and it's mostly a weird that works. Watters demands your attention and that you hop into the passenger seat with Izzy as she wages a single-woman campaign against the inevitable. There's a lot of musing on death and existence with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and the character design is bonkers enough to provide a nice balance for some of the verbosity. Paulie is mercurial and convincingly dangerous, and nothing's to be taken for granted. This book has the capacity to surprise, and maybe even dazzle.
Dani's art is wild and odd, with good refinement of facial detail when the action's slow and a lot of great perspective. The jar in the back of the car in this issue's a perfect example of how to zero in on one detail without showing the violence that preceded it and still get the same emotional, visceral punch. And one better, because oddly enough, it's classy.
The color palette is a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am punch of hues that elicits a perpetual club atmosphere. A chase sequence dotted with eerie greens and rosy reds bleeds down into the cool blue underground on the page turn, and it's very effective.
Bidikar's lettering is on point, as usual, with a nice scratch stroke on the vulture's balloons and an excellent clean font for the main dialogue. The tail choice is an interesting one at first, but it picks up on Dani's linework and does a lot to help the balloons blend into the scratchier art.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Izzy keeps us at a pretty cool distance, and if you're into digging in with characters, this might not be the read for you.
The art consistency. Dani's line disintegrates in action scenes intentionally, but there's a good deal of detail lost. Faces seem to sag or are squashed, and there's one panel that does away with Izzy's fishnets altogether in an enclosed space. Granted, she's dropping through a smashed floor, but the next panel provides that fine detail and makes the preceding omission feel sloppy.
It's a matter of taste, but Watters' verbose waxing weigh pretty heavily on Dani's loose line. Again, the contrast is intentional, but it doesn't always work. We run the risk of losing the lyricism because we're spending too much time reading and parsing dialogue and not enough time paying attention to the riotous art and color all over the page. Keeping the plot ticking along at this pace doesn't always lend itself to rumination, and the book struggles under the burden of its self-awareness when we need to speed things up and go minimal.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you're jonesing for a peek back into grittier indies or nostalgic for the British Invasion, the style of this book will definitely do it for you.
If you like esoteric plots and literary stylings, this is also a book for you.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
From your Local Comics Shop on October 9th
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