Coda #8 is beautiful, elegant, simple, and heartbreaking. When you sit down to write a review of something that strikes you, really reaches in and rattles you, you want to write about it in a way that does the issue justice.
For the last seven months, we’ve seen Hum, our once Bardic “hero” (anti-hero), “work” (lie, cheat, and steal) in the vast apocalyptic landscapes of a once-magical world to find a way to “fix” his raging barbarian wife Serka in the way he best sees fit. Like C.S. Lewis and other fantasy writers before him, Simon Spurrier isn’t afraid of allegory. Unlike Lewis, he isn’t interested in indoctrinating us, but the opposite. He zeroes in with a magnifying glass on the cancerous, toxic elements of our society and allows us to watch while he performs surgery on them. All of this in the hopes that maybe we’ll walk away at least knowing what needs to be fixed, and there’s plenty that does.
It’s his unfettered talent – a keen sense of humor mixed with a deep emotional understanding of his characters – that makes these allegories feel like mythical operas. In thinking through this as I write it, I am reminded of the diverse creative reach and ambition of Terry Gilliam’s brilliant Brazil, careening from comedy, to tragedy, to scary as hell, to so absurd it feels too real, all within the blink of an eye. Gilliam had Roger Pratt as his visual counterpart, creating the lush and absurd imagery we saw on screen. With Coda, Matías Bergara is Spurrier’s visual inventor, bringing a chaotic world exploding to life on the page. It’s dangerous, truly larger than life, and full of every color you can imagine fighting for its space on the page.
Issue eight leaves Hum’s inner monologue behind and follows a new narrator, Serka. Serka is no longer simply a piece of Hum’s life, but a living, breathing, wounded hero. Perhaps the true hero of Coda. It’s difficult to say. Serka and Hum’s encounter in this issue is tense; it renders your heart in two, but it’s also exactly what needed to happen. As the series comes to a close, I’ll dive in deeper, but the floor just fell out from under our anti-hero, and a resplendent tower was built in its place.
And there are four issues left…
Creative Team: Simon Spurrier (story), Matías Bergara (art), Michael Doig (color assist), Colin Bell (letters), Marie Krupina (designer), Eric Harburn (editor)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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