The first issue of Coffin Bound arrives in stores today, and it quickly cements itself as one of the coolest comics to debut this summer. The first issue manages to be a blood-soaked revenge fantasy, an intimate character piece, and a road trip through a bizarre world all at once and with nearly effortless ease.
The issue opens on Izzy Tyburn, a young woman who wakes up to a vulture warning of her impending death. Realizing that she can't escape her fate, Izzy decides to spend her final days traveling back through her life and erasing any evidence of herself. While even the elevator pitch of that concept is definitely interesting, the issue itself shapes it into something surprising and profound. The narrative essentially hits the ground running, letting the issue's characters be introduced in a way that feels hectic, but very fully-realized. Izzy, in particular, is established as a multi-faceted badass right out of the gate, without nearly any of the trappings that usually plague "strong female characters".
If this first issue is any indication, consent and objectification—and the ways that women are unintentionally subject to that—are going to be a significant part of what makes this series tick. Izzy's line midway through the issue of "if the world will not have me in it, it cannot have me at all" summarizes that pretty perfectly, while unapologetically setting up the fact that Izzy is making herself to be the protagonist of her own story. Even the segments of the issue that don't directly involve Izzy have this mindset bubbling to the surface, particularly with a sequence set in a rather-macabre twist on a strip club. Given the genres that the series is drawing from—particularly the world of grindhouse—it's satisfying to see Coffin Bound put such a prominent focus on women's agency.
It's also worth noting the choices made in the issue's dialogue, into which Dan Watters throws a surprising amount of detail. While this series will surely draw comparisons to Watters' work in the Sandman universe, the flow of dialogue in this series feels like something else altogether. A lot of lines full of poetic Shakespearean flourishes and five-dollar buzzwords, but the context of it all gives it a punk rock and casual flair, particularly thanks to Aditya Bidikar's lettering.
That punk rock sensibility is taken into a whole new territory by Dani, whose art is truly breathtaking to behold. Everything from the barren landscapes to the most elaborately-filled panels is rendered gorgeously and says so much about the series' world in the process. The costume designs are also on a whole other level, as they're incredibly distinct and detailed while also looking pretty easy to cosplay. Brad Simpson's colors help sell the world of Coffin Bound as well. In between the picturesque sunsets and technicolor nightlife, there's a feeling that the world of the series is just a little off, particularly with the issue's use of greens.
Coffin Bound is violent, beautiful, and bizarre, but this first issue works on virtually every level. The creative team uses a mysterious, but fully-realized, fantasy world to craft a grindhouse tale that feels feminist, fun, and incredibly promising. With inspired character designs and an intriguing premise, the first issue of Coffin Bound is too cool to not be a part of your pull list.
Published by Image Comics
On August 7, 2019
Written by Dan Watters
Art by Dani
Colors by Brad Simpson0comments
Letters by Aditya Bidikar
Design by Emma Price