Review: 13 Coins Collection Vol. 1
Simon Bisley is an extraordinary talent, which I have wondered for a while why more people do not know who he is. As his art seems like matte paintings, on the level of Alex Ross, but one could argue, the reason he has not gotten the same acclaim is because of what he draws and not of the style he does it in, which is an unfair barometer to judge artistic talent. The same can be said of his writing half on 13 Coins, Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson, as their stories feel so visceral that it makes you wonder if they were these characters in a past life. The combining of talents, especially within the scope of this tome, is worthy enough to be compared to Charles Dickens, not only because of the sheer size of the books but also in the fashion they portrayed common characters as both misunderstood and underestimated.
Within 13 Coins, the opening tells a story of battle between heaven and hell, and the rarely told politics, and spillover that war usually encompasses. Within this war, there were angels who rebelled against God and were thus cast out, 13 of them to be exact, as 13 coins were created for each fallen leader on earth. As with most legends like these, they await a hero, but this is where the twist is, instead they are awaiting a villain to rise. Fast forward to modern-day Chinatown in New York and we meet our protagonist, John Pozner, a down on his luck ex-junkie.
We are also introduced to Manuel, an amputee and Gwen, a gun for hire. The portrayal of Manuel’s PTSD, is probably the best in a comic I have ever seen. Then John meets the mysterious figure known as Samuel Goldwyn, and we find out what has happened since the Battle Of Heaven, the descendents of the angels, “The Sons of Noah, and the Fallen” descendents of the fallen leaders. The story feels like a hybrid of Millar’s Wanted and King’s The Stand, with political implications intermingled with classic hero’s journey.
To me, it is a more primeval and pragmatic portrayal of how it is to operate in this world, rather than the cookie cutter version that television and movies often depict, and what the show Dominion actually gets right. Bisley’s art is really the star of this project and what will draw and keep the reader turning the pages. Brennan and Jackson, gives an interesting spin on this take of the hero’s journey, but grittier than one has ever seen. Overall, 13 Coins is a trip worth taking.
Story: Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson Art: Simon Bisley
Story: 8 Art: 10 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review