I somehow missed reading and reviewing issue #10 of Coda, but that just meant I had the pleasure of reading two issues last night. And what a pleasure it was!
Hum is a bard living in a post-magic (essentially post-apocalyptic) world, where the last remnants of magic are fought over like fuel in Mad Max. The first nine issues dealt with Hum trying to change the love of his life Serk using a magical serum. She’s a berserker barbarian. With every step he took, you – the reader – knew this poor choice was going to end up even worse, as he manipulated, stole, and acted selfishly while at the same time doing his best to ignore his more heroic impulses.
Things went down, but you still hoped as there were 4 issues left. Now, there is only one issue left…and the last issue shook the series with revelations and story beats that I couldn’t have seen coming from five feet away.
Coda, written by Simon Spurrier and with the visual beauty of Matías Bergara’s artwork, is like no other fantasy story you will read. From moment to moment, this character-driven spectacle surprises you. One moment, it’s bittersweet and hilarious, the next it’s tragic and introspective. The next still it’s epic and raucous, and the next tender and quiet. It veers and careens every which way, following every thrilling impulse and yet managing to be completely coherent and thematically important.
I don’t like using the word “important” to describe things, but I’m not sure how else to describe the work being done here. Like the best sci-fi and fantasy, the elevated circumstances that the characters find themselves in mirror the world we live in, and, here, Spurrier and Bergara have tackled the toxicity of control – the juxtaposition and lack of self-awareness that comes with wishing to help someone but for selfish reasons.
As a reader, you want the hero to make the right decisions. You continue to believe in them, because you can see the hint of goodness in them still, and your heart hurts when they keep making the wrong decisions. It’s a fine line for a creator to walk, and the creators of Coda have done a stellar job of balancing these elements.
One issue 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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