Coffin Bound #1 is either utterly pretentious or utterly sleazy. Dani and Brad Simpson‘s visuals are that of the grindhouse or carsploitation film with a touch of a Western and religious rituals. I definitely could feel a Pretty Deadly vibe from this book, but it seems sleazier. Some of that might be chalked up to Dan Watters’ writing which runs the gamut from Philosophy 101 bullshitting to terse, salt of the Earth dialogue.
Beneath all the purple prose and self-flaying strippers, Watters’ plot is a straightforward one. A girl named Isabel wants to obliterate every trace of her from her fucked up post-apocalyptic world, and a gimp mask sporting psychopomp named Earth Eater (In the literal sense). So, she goes on a road trip looking for an oracle named Cassandra, who turns out to be someone she has a warm, possibly even romantic relationship with. Her road trip buddy is a vulture, which drives home the point that, yes, this is a book about primal things like death.
Coffin Bound is a comic that I liked more for the aesthetic and general visual feel than for the contents of the issue until the very end when it maybe becomes a queer love story. Dani’s cover sets the tone for the book with a raven-haired girl slumped by a loud, yellow car with bones around her disdainfully holding a gun and cigarette like she doesn’t give a fuck. This attitude extends to the opening action scene that’s filled with equal parts humor and nihilism as Isabel struggles to put her pistol together to fight off the men who are trying to kill her for Earth Eater. A brick does the job just as well too and is maybe an homage at the original cat vs mouse comic Krazy Kat, which also had idiosyncratic use of language like this book. Later, Isabel has car problems and complains to her “manager” using florid prose, and the scene made me crack a smile because even poetic, post-apocalyptic badasses’ cars break down sometimes.
Coffin Bound is a very good comic whenever Watters and Dani focus the story on Isabel and the Earth Eater, who just shows up on a couple of pages like a good classic horror monster. However, it loses some of its momentum in the strip club sequence although Dani’s heavy inks and Simpson’s sleazy color palette and focuses on the red meat of the self-flaying stripper creates a pretty fucked up atmosphere. Watters seems to be filling in the world of Coffin Bound and the relationships that Isabel has and is trying to undo, but it hurts the comic’s pacing as a chase story. It’s like if Mad Max Fury Road cut immediately from a war rig action scene to a secondary female character working the pole for one of Immortan Joe’s lieutenant. Hopefully, it works once we get the full arc, but is a weak scene in this single unit of story.
Coffin Bound #1 is a comic that looks cool and knows it thanks to Dan Watters’ dark sense of humor, Dani’s take no prisoners visuals, and Brad Simpson’s scorched Earth color palette. It suffers a little bit when it gets away from the cat and mouse game between Isabel and Earth Eater, and sometimes the dialogue is a little bit up it’s own ass. But it’s nice to see a comic that’s not afraid to get its hands dirty in an age of house art and polished sheen.
Story: Dan Watters Art: Dani Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review