If there’s one thing I’ve learned about angels throughout my various readings it’s that angels are sorta dicks.* That’s true in 13 Coins, a new digital comic from writers Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson. When the chance to review it popped up, I jumped at the chance as I’m always on the lookout for cool indy books. Is it worth your coin? Read the review to find out!
*I apologize to the easily offended. All statements are mine and not those of Major Spoilers or any others affiliated. Please don’t fire me Stephen.
Art is wonderful
Cool concepts and ideas
#1-3 currently FREE
Some pacing is off
Digital color doesn’t always work with pencils
13 COINS #1-3
Writer: Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson
Artist: Simon Bisley
Letterer: David Withers
Colorist: Ryan Brown
Publisher: Corinthian Productions
Cover Price: $2.99 (FREE Until Jan. 1st! Awesome!)
Previously in 13 Coins: God sent angels to watch over the humans on earth but some of the watchers grew jealous. A rebellion started and after a long bloody battle the fallen angels were cast out of heaven, their leader imprisoned in chains. Thirteen of the demons escaped along with sections of the chain, and melted them into 13 coins. Coins that have caused horrors throughout time.
LOTS OF COOL BUT A BIT FAMILIAR
The backstory to 13 Coins is a little complicated, but once grasped is really quite cool. John Pozner is the first-born of true-blood, foretold to free the leader of the fallen angels by touching the coins and start a war on God. Throughout the first three issues he finds himself stuck in a battle between The Fallen and The Son. Recruited by The Son, the team trains him to fight and help win the war on evil.
I’m a fan of battles between Heaven and Hell, good and evil and this story gives just that. What I liked most is that this is the story of a war between two groups of angels: Those who stayed true to God and those who betrayed him (the jealous dicks). Much of the story beats have been seen before: Guy has unknown gift, wanted by two fighting sides, recruited and trained by good guys as secrets are slowly revealed. Fortunately, most of the backstory and premise are original enough that it overshadows the familiarity. Brennan and Jackson supply enough mystery and twists that kept me reading and gave me hope that surprises will pop up. As we learn more about The Son and the member’s powers, the uniqueness slowly started to poke through. The coins are the most interesting and I’m eager to see just what evil effects they have on those they touch.
Pacing is the biggest problem. At times it’s action packed and quick while others it drags. Questions are answered in various ways, some slowly unveiled and others quickly delivered. I’m eager for the answers but there’s too much exposition in some scenes. Information is dumped on the reader rapidly while the characters, funnily enough, move through numerous events. It leads to a contrast in time as there appears to be a long period of John’s training, yet he’s told much in just a few panels. The issues also end abruptly, providing little cliffhanger and instead feel cut in the middle of a moment, though this could be due to the digital nature. There’s a lot here worth checking out though and I’m looking forward to future issues.
IT’S NICE TO SEE MR. BISLEY ON INTERIORS
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a comic with Simon Bisley handling interiors. His tough and rough style is awesome and unlike any other comic art out there. The detail is amazing and characters all have that “badass cool” design and it brings the book to a whole other level. The digital coloring by Ryan Brown looks great but sometimes morphs Bisley’s work. There were times when the digital look overpowered the art and looked nothing like Bisley’s pencils. This is most apparent in the first issue and thankfully occurs sparsely in the remaining two. When it works it works wonderfully, providing some great action scenes and layouts. Those who hate digital painting will have problems, but it’s definitely worth a look. The covers to those bought in the app store have a clever moving 3-D effect, allowing the reader to change angles with their finger. It’s a neat gimmick and done much better than what DC tried.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH CHECKING OUT
13 Coins has just enough of a twist and uniqueness that it saves the story from being bland. There are some stumbles with pacing but nothing that ruined the experience. Simon Bisley and Ryan Brown’s art mostly work together and at times knock it out of the park. Fans of dark stories with religious elements and action will be most pleased and the intrigue is enough to keep readers coming back. The app provides some cool features and should be praised on providing a unique reading experience. At the time of this writing, the first three issues are free until January 1st, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try. It will also be available in print in the future for those “old school”. 13 Coins #1-3 earn 4 out of 5 stars.