The Silver Coin #11 ADVANCE REVIEW: Melancholy gore fest & heebie jeebies galore in a horrific diner
Writer: James Tynion IV; Linework & Lettering: Michael Walsh; Coloring: Toni Marie Griffin & Michael Walsh; Editor: Chris Hampton. "Dark Passage: Part One" by Adam Gorham.
There are three certainties in this world: death, taxes, and me reading anything by James Tynion IV. Imagine my delight to discover Tynion wrote this week’s The Silver Coin #11, the newest entry in a series that’s moving ever closer to an endgame. We’ve followed the coin throughout history and across multiple perspectives, each issue bringing a new writer and a brief window into the pain and suffering wrought by the coin’s existence. As a series, The Silver Coin consistently raises the bar with every passing issue and, make no mistake, this week is no different. The coin makes its way to a small, fading diner just as a new fast food chain opens across the street and customers are scarce. A melancholy gore fest with its toes dipped in many different horror subgenres, The Silver Coin #11 delivers in tears and fear, and reminds us that the food industry can eat you alive if you let it.
Tynion’s talent for horror lay in the vulnerability of his writing, a virtue on full display in The Silver Coin #11. Whether the heartbreaking grotesquery of Something is Killing the Children or the intimate moments of humanity in The Nice House on the Lake, Tynion’s stylistically diverse approach to horror never fails to bless me with a case of the heebie-jeebies. Intricately layered character work is Tynion’s bread and butter, a trait that allows his horror to strike deeper by essentially betraying the reader.
Moments of pause and individual styles of speech create identity; each character slowly becomes reminiscent of someone you know, making the inevitable that much harder. Much like Stephen King, who gets a great nod in this issue, Tynion brings the characters to life in our mind only to strip them of that life once the emotional connection is made.
Artist Walsh is able to curate a mood and tone with his colors that achieve a relatable specificity. This issue is drowning in a subdued palette of blues that’s interrupted only by the generously paced pages of desaturated red that slowly, throughout the issue, saturates until it reaches the narratively appropriate shade of blood. As a tenure-track server in the food industry, the resigned atmosphere of blues feels all too familiar, especially when juxtaposed to an empty dining room.
Heavy linework and panel design further the atmosphere, but also complement Tynion’s side of the character work. Most panels focus on character subjects from various perspectives and distances. Walsh avoids overly specific facial details until he conveys so precise an emotion through a character’s face that I audibly gasp. There is a lot of control on display, emotions are reigned in until needed, and then they are executed efficiently and confidently.
I’ll stop calling The Silver Coin a phenomenal horror anthology series when it stops being one. The Silver Coin #11 furthers the heinous and malevolent exploits of the coin across time, but also takes another step towards unveiling a bigger narrative at play, one that has been casting a gaunt shadow over the last few issues.
I give this issue FIVE out of FIVE POPS!
Be sure to check it out when it releases this Wednesday! Grab a copy from YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP!!! . . . or online from Image Comics here. Stay tuned for a short (but very sweet) recommended reading list below.
Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.