Coffin Bound #1 // Review
Izzy wakes-up to see that a vulture’s been watching her. She does what anyone would do in a situation like that. She lights a cigarette and asks it what it wants. It tells her that there are people out to get her. So begins writer Dan Watters’ Coffin Bound. Izzy is off on an adventure in a post-apocalyptic wasteland populated by the dead and the dying. Greek artist Dani renders the story with the aid of colorist Brad Simpson. Hazy wasteland poetics rumble through the opening chapter of a story about a woman looking to erase herself before someone else does it for her.
The skinny figure that greets Izzy when she wakes identifies as a vulture. The thin skeletal body adorned in rags has a birdcage atop it with a talking vulture head inside. The vulture warns her that people approach who intend to do her harm. When they arrive, Izzy discovers that a waste dweller known as the EarthEater wants her dead. As she and the vulture hit the road in the classy convertible, she calls her agent. “I am expunging myself from the planet,” she tells him. “Each mark I’ve made I shall scrub out...its something to do.”
Watters’ script is wrapped around equal quantities of poetry and attitude. Civilization has been and gone, and Izzy wants to wipe herself free from it. Very stylishly nihilistic stuff. Rather than setting out on a journey to save her life, Izzy’s looking for careful self-destruction. There are debts to be paid before she’s gone. It’s a clever premise that feels distinctly unlike anything else, and yet it’s all so familiar. There’s a dreamy fluidity in the strangely surreal world Izzy inhabits. So much of the dialogue and the story it supports rest just outside logic’s window in a dying world. Watters delivers a promising first step into annihilation.
The series was inspired by a commission that Greek artist Dani did of a girl in a graveyard. Dani’s connection with Izzy is palpable. Her personality is delicately crafted. A character like this might come across larger-than-life, but Dani keeps Izzy solidly planted on the ground without compromising her distinctive personality. Dani studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts. There’s a wonderful sense of depth in Dani’s work that’s likely informed on her early work with 3 dimensions. The vast void of the wasteland feels overwhelming. There’s a stunning use of negative space in the art that’s aided considerably by deeply atmospheric garish-to-subtle colors by Brad Simpson.
Without substantial background or backstory, Simpson and Dani are throwing the readers directly into the end of everything with a story set in a world that no longer makes a whole lot of sense. The reflection of life and death is thrown into a deeply enjoyable adventure horror drama. Izzy’s a fun character. From the first installment, we know that she’s not going to be successful unless she’s dead. Judging from the opening act, it’s going to be a hell of a journey to her death.