THIS REVIEW OF ‘COFFIN BOUND’ #2 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Lauren Fernandes. Imagine a wide, open, dusty road drawn out before you. The wind is in your hair as you increase the pressure on the gas pedal, urging the car onward, faster, hurtling into the future. You squint your eyes slightly against the wind, hands gripping the wheel, feeling the control over your ride and your destiny.
Except you are not in control. Maybe your brakes have gone out, or your steering will no longer respond. Perhaps there’s a pothole, disguised by the glare of the sun, waiting to take control from you. An animal may dart out, bringing all of your motion to a crashing halt. Whatever it is that goes wrong, your stomach lurches, ties into knots, as the knowledge that something truly awful is about to happen crashes like lightning through every nerve of your body.
This is what issue #2 of Coffin Bound is like. Only in this case, we are helpless observers. Izzy, the brusque, gated, alt-girl protagonist that Dan Watters and artist Dani have birthed for us, is on a quest to erase her own existence before a killer can catch her. The complexity of this task is not ignored in this issue either. We begin to see what this really means for Izzy, and what it means to the people around her.
Up until now, Izzy has been a relatively cold, distant woman. Her apparent apathy about her predicament has been mildly unsettling, but mostly confusing until this point. In her interactions with her ex-lover Cassandra, Izzy becomes much, much more human. Watters has built an extremely tender relationship between the two. There is so much care evident between Izzy and Cassandra, each trying their damndest to preserve the other. Cassandra, who points out the salient fact that no matter how many photos Izzy steals of herself, no matter what footprints she erases, she can’t remove the memories others have of her. The love they bear her. And those memories are a ripple in water she won’t be able to still.
Watters expertly constructs this relationship between the two characters in but a few pages. Their history, the ties they have to one another, are intrinsically known as you read, and the importance of it is unmistakable, unmissable, and wholly the most poignant part of this issue. What Watters has given us in text, Dani builds upon with such heart-wrenching visuals. Instead of merely showing the action of the text, Dani is telling a whole separate layer of Izzy’s story, and perhaps that is what makes it so engaging. The “sex!” promised in the synopsis of the issue is a worthwhile plot device that expounds upon the story we follow here. It is not just an opportunity to show some cleavage, but a moment of intimacy. Dani gives us so much more context, so much more information. She lets us glimpse the joys of Izzy’s past. Dani shows us the pain hidden behind Izzy’s eyes, pain that only Cassandra has been able to draw from her so far. Dani shows us Izzy’s guilt, her adoration, and her determination. To top it off, Brad Simpson has adopted an utterly melancholy color scheme for these moments. The dusky colors reflect the sadness and tragedy that stir on the edge of the whole issue.
Izzy and Cassandra are not the only characters we get to understand so much more in this issue. The bizarre club owner, Paulie Starlight, swings into center stage a couple of times, each more unsettling than the last. No spoilers, though.
Frame by frame, Dani drags my heart along behind Izzy. And, seeing what Izzy can’t, frame by frame my heart breaks for her. Each poetic line, imagined by Watters and put to page by Aditya Bidikar, keeps me hooked, keeps me reading. There is no emergency brake. No airbag. No seatbelt even. There’s nothing to soften the blow. In the end, there is only the company of the vultures circling above. You are left alone, wondering if you ever really had control. You’re left wondering what one life means to another. How far do the ripples go?
You’re left wondering if it’s really possible to change fate. And you’re left with the grief and futility of it all.
Image Comics / $3.99
Written by Dan Watters.
Art by Dani.
Colors by Brad Simpson.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
9 out of 10
Check out this 3-page preview of ‘Coffin Bound’ #2, courtesy of Image Comics!