Simon Bisley’s ’13 Coins #1′ is One Hell of a Good First Issue

GameStop, Inc.

13 Coins #1 cover INCThe story of John Pozner, a tormented ex-con on a quest for vengeance, when he discovers that he is descended from angels, and is the living key to Earth’s future, or Heaven’s fall.

Today sees the release of 13 Coins’ first issue, and it is messed up in the best way possible. The story begins in heaven, as God’s select angels become jealous of his constant forgiveness of humans, resulting in a revolution. The revolution is stopped, and 13 angels are cast down into Hell, with the leader, Semyaza, bound in chains until Judgement Day. The 13 coins of the title are fashioned from a link of that chain, and now a struggle to keep them out of the wrong hands is in play.

The story, written by Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson, is epic in scope, yet with a street level style that juxtaposes a war for Heaven with Earthly politics. There are plenty of main characters that the writers masterfully move around the board like chess pieces, setting up an inevitable checkmate that hopefully has the good guys win.

We don’t see much of John Pozner in the first issue, as the writers use Gwen, David, Larue, and Samuel deftly to set up the premise of the series. Each of these characters are interesting, each having some sort of mystery surrounding them, and we have four more issues to discover answers to the many questions these characters pose. There is plenty of balls to the wall action, violence, blood, and gore, but from a book with Simon Bisley attached we wouldn’t have it any other way. The pacing is lightning fast like a summer blockbuster, with more bullets flying than a Michael Bay film. There is not a single wasted page, everything is used to propel the story along to it’s climax. It is exhilarating, thrilling, disturbing in spots, and over way too soon.

Bisley’s art is some of the best of his career. The scenes of violence are truly a thing to behold, and Bisley does not hold back one bit. There are men being cut in half, heads flying off left and right, disembowlings aplenty, and enough gushing bullet wounds to please any gorehound. His style has been refined somewhat from previous books, and it is simply gorgeous in the way it balances the gore of the Heavenly war, and the fewer and farther between quieter moments.

There is a lot at play here, and this issue barely touched the surface of what I think is going to be a seriously, epically twisted series. I very much look forward to the next issue, Saints preserve us.

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