It’s nice to see an anthology narrative sync together as cleanly as it does in The Silver Coin, a book that commits to providing a singular conceit and allowing the writers to structure whatever story they want around that conceptual kernel.
The center is twofold: first, we have the titular silver coin, a quasi-living artifact of presumed evil that provides inciting incidents and cruelly drives each story. Secondly, there’s artist Michael Walsh, whose moody teenage “protagonists” move about their shadowy suburbia and summer camps as if on the razor’s edge of some darker reality.
Both coin and artist provide a sort of cohesion to the project — we follow the coin for its novelty, but we live in Walsh’s world for its rich, smudged lushness; where the revolving cast of writers provide their short vignettes, Walsh anchors us in the ongoing journey of the coin.
Chip Zdarsky and Kelly Thompson, who each provided previous issues, were interested in their characters, whose chance encounters with the coin led to gruesome, violent climaxes. The Silver Coin #3 moves at a much quicker pace than its predecessors — less interested in defining character and motivation, time or place, Brisson’s issue seems primarily motivated by the moving of the coin itself.
The three primary characters behave primarily as vehicles for narrative momentum rather than vessels for relatable feelings of underdog ambition (Zdarsky in issue #1) or harried, cutting bullying (Thompson in issue #2); thieves and accidental killers who seem motivated by some vague criminal nudge with no introspective understanding of their crimes, which we experience in medias res.
Most importantly, this issue begins to hint at the larger workings beyond a cursed coin. There appears to be a maestro behind the symphony of violence, or perhaps only a sort of evil currency steward. The story, of course, does not provide us with too many concretes — it wouldn’t be a bridge issue in a horror anthology if the motivation was established or architecture exposed. Instead, we’re left with a troubling understanding that the coin is not simply a spark of random chaos but a small part of a larger, driven evil.
The Silver Coin is the real deal, a horror comic that is cozy in its influences and unique in its vision. It’s certainly a book I’ve gone out of my way to recommend, and one that I’ll be sure to come back to in the way I’ve come back to the great slasher franchises, Cat’s Eye, and certain episodes of Tales From the Crypt. I eagerly await the next issue.
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