Updated: Oct 20
Writing, Linework, Lettering: Michael Walsh; Colors: Toni Marie Griffin & Michael Walsh; Edits: Chris Hampton.
Here we are again, you and I. Enthusiastic reviewer and tentative reader, admirable scribe and — hopefully — satisfied audience; no matter our role, we meet again to commemorate the despicably macabre in its newest form. The Silver Coin #15 from Image Comics doubles down on the grotesque, both with what is seen and what isn't. At the center of it all is the Coin that carries infinitely complex and immeasurably visceral costs. The Silver Coin series is a quilt; each issue is a patch to that quilt that adds such grander scope to such a minuscule object: the Coin. Each tale builds a big myth and bigger questions concerning the Coin's intentions . . . and possible master.
The Silver Coin #15 hints at darker horizons by doing what the series does best: throw the Coin into the hands of an unsuspecting bystander and watch the carnage begin. . . but now we know the Coin must feed. An unknowing firefighter plays the part of our red-shirt exposition, his first encounter with the Coin being surrounded by ash and charred remains (you'll see). Then the creative team shows us how a life combusts, from spark to inferno. This story, like all others in The Silver Coin series, gives us a case study of the Coin's effect on any life it touches. They are, effectively, life stories that birth when one finds the ravenous Coin and die . . . well, you know. Our firefighter hero, however, is nothing of the kind and we find out quite quickly why the Coin gravitated towards him.
Through robust imagery — that may haunt me for some time — and an expansive narrative web that finds its stride in well-paced tension and minute reveals that hint at larger horrors to come, the husband/wife duo of Walsh and Griffin dominate the page with their respective talents. Walsh's writing remains muted yet vibrant in its abyssal tones and eldritch delights. Griffin's colors are cruel and haunting, each scene's mood reliant on a pendulum swinging to and fro between saturated and unsaturated colors. Her shadows are deep and constantly encroaching, an effect that boosts Walsh's linework by giving each sinister stroke the feeling of having just arrived from some dark and terrible place, slashes through the world we know to somewhere forever-night. Though I wax poetic here, I do so only to emphasize the quality of teamwork that I've come to expect from this series.
The Silver Coin #15 from Image Comics revels in its adherence to the series' structure while continuing to give us something new, injecting a potential energy into the series that feels as though we are hurtling towards something we'd rather not — but totally will — see. As of yet, we've nothing but whispers about what or who lay behind the Coin's power, but you can be sure I'll be there to find out, and I hope you will too.
The Silver Coin #15 gets 5 out of 5 POPs!
Pick up this issue at your LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP (!!!) or directly from Image Comics here! The series will be experiencing a hiatus while Walsh and Griffin welcome their new child into the world, but picking up a few collected volumes of The Silver Coin may keep you busy in the meantime!
If horror be ye trade and anthology thy preference, then I'm the comics recommender for you! Tynion is one of the names highest on this list so obviously I'm here to shout the praises of his Razorblades anthology series: a collaboration of many AMAZING creators. I'd end with a nice, albeit zany, recommendation of Edgar Allan Poe's Snifter of Terror; this anthology series is the best of EC Comics . . . if it had a wonky sense of humor.
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.