Coffin Bound Vol 1 (collecting issues 1-4), Written by Dan Watters, Drawn by Dani, Colours by Brad Simpson, Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
Considering the current climate we are living in, it might be seen as slightly insensitive to read a comic series called Coffin Bound, however as I have a slightly dark sense of humour I thought I’d give it a go. After all, “we are all coffin bound,” as it states in the very first issue.
We awake with our main character Liz in an apocalyptic wasteland of what used to be Earth. Although not delved completely into Mad Max territory, as there are some institutions that still run. We are then thrown a curve ball by being introduced to the Vulture. A cross between a spirit guide and grim reaper, being a skeletal vulture head in a cage on top of a steampunk type body to help him move. This gives the sense that this is a supernatural style comic. He quickly explains to Liz that there are men here to do her harm. Proving this is a supernatural thriller. Liz’s past quickly catches up to her, and before she’s hunted down by the most savage of killers, she needs to remove her presence from everything she’s ever been in contact with. The chase is on.
This visceral series is a deep dive into the psychology of being human, in knowing want we want our mark to be on the world, with the writing and artwork metaphorically and physically peeling back the layers of the human psyche. What makes us human: is it the interaction with people, is it the physical form we embody? These are the kinds of questions asked within the comic that also makes the audience ponder too.
There seems to be many different influences for the art style, some panels are striking in a contrasting way similar to that of Sin City, yet others are heavy on colour and lacking in fine detail like a classic 1920s painting.
In a beautiful foreword by Ram V, he explains how this feels like a play. I would embellish on that a little and say that this feels like an updated version of a play done through the camera lens similar to Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), however we haven’t seen the original play yet.
Poetry is a big part of the story, which is fitting as it’s beautifully told using its words to delightful effect, and the fantastic artwork making things striking. Which is what makes the imperfections so obvious. Towards the end there are panels where the artwork seems rushed. The faces aren’t detailed and the colours run. This could be due to time schedules or other things. However when the art has been so meticulous throughout, it’s a shame that a few bad panels let it down.
That, however, is my only issue with this collection. It truly is a poetic masterpiece where everyone is on top of their game. If anyone is looking to fill a void of a supernatural revenge thriller, this will definitely scratch that itch. I’d say it’s good enough to make it to my top books of the year, despite us only being in March.
Coffin Bound Vol 1 "Happy Ashes" is on sale from 25th March from your local comic shop, comixology, or other comic sites.