Monday, 5 December 2022

The Silver Coin, Volume 3 Review (Michael Walsh, James Tynion IV)

So… three volumes in and NOW The Silver Coin starts to become a decent title?? That’s weird and quite unexpected. The first book was such garbage that I thought the whole series would be like that but there were some pretty solid stories in this third volume - nothing amazing but some of them were surprisingly entertaining to read.

(I was gonna mention the bizarre timing of this and another pretty good horror comic, I Hate This Place, both being published a few weeks AFTER Halloween instead of a few weeks before but I suspect that may have to do with the recent paper shortage in publishing generally and that Image intended to get this out sooner but couldn’t for supply chain issues. I’m just giving them the benefit of the doubt though - if this isn’t the case then they should fire whoever’s in charge of the publishing schedule.)

The shocks keep a-rolling with the two best stories here being written by two writers I don’t expect anything from: James Tynion IV and Stephanie Phillips. Tynion’s The Diner is about a failing diner whose fortunes are turned around once the owner picks up the cursed coin and wishes to have a bunch of customers to fill her place - and all of them be damn hungry.

Phillips’ ‘Til Dawn is set in the final months of WW2 where a GI and his unit are battling Nazis in the Italian Alps until - you guessed it - he comes across the cursed coin and things go from bad to nightmarish. The snowy setting and general air of violence lends the story a compellingly bleak atmosphere.

Johnnie Christmas’ Threshold is about a pregnant woman discovering it’s not a baby inside her that she’s going to give birth to. I didn’t love the story but it gives you a lot of info around what the Silver Coin really is, so it’s worthwhile in the sense that it builds up the background to the series. It’s also the only story here that’s unpredictable in where it's headed.

Pornsak (hehe) Pichetshote’s The Bad Year is one of the two stories that I didn’t enjoy. It’s got two competing timelines - one that goes forward and one that goes backwards - for no real reason and neither are interesting. It’s about a screenwriter and an actress’ failing relationship, put under more stress because of the 2020 pandemic. I think it’ll be a few years before I want to read anything about that year in fiction again (can you believe the store’s out of toilet paper, etc… sigh) and the story reads like Phillips’ contribution but crappier and more convoluted.

Michael Walsh writes the final story here, Into the Fire, which gives you the backstory to the creepy customer in the first story about the diner. It’s pointless but it gives the book a nice self-contained feel to it, tying it all together neatly. Walsh drawing each issue also gives the book a satisfying consistency as well.

Having now read a number of these stories about the saga of the cursed coin, I could guess most of the time what was going to happen to the doomed characters in each story. The coin’s either a mindfuck or a “be careful what you wish for”-type deal and they only end one way - that’s why I won’t say these are especially brilliant horror stories. But at least a couple of them here are fun to read, even if you know what’ll happen by the end, and none are egregiously bad. Even if you’ve not read the preceding books, you don’t need to in order to pick up this one (all the better too as they’re not good) so if you’re looking for an enjoyable horror anthology comic, check out The Silver Coin, Volume 3.

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