Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Dan Watters
Colours: Brad Simpson
Lettering: Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 7th October 2020
In the latest issue of Coffin Bound, young Taqa is still trying to prove the existence of God by courting the appearance of The Vulture, a being so impossible as to surely only have come from a higher power. Unfortunately, The Vulture only appears when death is in the air, so our tragic heroine has opted to put out a hit on herself, luring some of the most twisted and depraved killers and mercenaries to come and take her life. But first, before her end arrives, she has decided to visit new friend Tatter as he engages in his latest bout of one-sided pugilism.
The contrast between Taqa and Tatter is almost poetic; one seeking to numb themselves from the pain or existence, the other revelling in every cut, bruise and jolt of pain. They’re drawn together, and while I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call it a fully-fledged love story, there’s certainly a powerful connection here and a sweetness and innocence which does well to offset the more unsettling moments of the story.
What really sells this particular issue, and does so from the very first page, is the latest pair of killers who have set their sights on Taqa. If ever there were a comic book creation custom-built to showcase Dani’s almost preternatural knack for utilising negative space, it’s these two. One white, one black, each a slightly disorienting negative of one another, and whose powers effectively split the comic in two midway through, each half of the page becoming a negative exposure of the other. It’s a mesmerizing if undeniably ambitious effect, and one which Dani, colourist Brad Simpson and letterer Aditya Bidikar execute to absolute perfection.
The narrative provided here by Dan Watters is equally as ambitious, with forking narratives and fractured realities as our two killers dissect their quarry both physically and mentally. It’s not an easy read, but it is a hugely rewarding one, and the looming threat of Madame Entropy and the fourth wall-breaking effect she has on the narration boxes gives the story a chilling sense of inevitability, all the way to its final full stop.
I’ll be honest, this is a difficult comic to discuss without spoiling its effect, just as it’s a difficult one to pigeon-hole or describe in one snappy elevator pitch of a summary. It’s a beautifully structured, subtly thought-provoking and visually luscious creation about life, death, pain, faith and about a dozen other themes, all interwoven into what feels at times almost like a pulp crime novel. I’ve fallen in love with it since the very first issue, and each twist and turn that this narrative takes draws me in deeper down the rabbit hole.
Simply put, Watters is a genius, Dani is a magician and Coffin Bound is one of the best books being published right now. What are you waiting for?
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]