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  • Writer's pictureBrad Gullickson

'The Silver Coin' is a Delicious Halloween Treat, No Trick

We review the new horror anthology comic and find a devilish party held between several demented creators.

Monkey paw karma is often the most succulent of horror treats. And The Silver Coin anthology from Image Comics excels in dishing out this particular brand of grotesque justice. Artist Michael Walsh gathers four other exceptional writers around this gnarly excursion, and they jam with brilliant, raw, and nasty energy. Any comic that assembles Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, and Jeff Lemire demands space on your shelves, but especially one where the creators are ghoulishly chasing a moral efficiency straight from The Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt.

Humans are wretched little beasts. We struggle every damn day, and we get sick of that struggle so frickin' fast. We're always on the look for a quick fix, and when a mystical coin rolls below our nose, there's no doubt that we'll snatch it up. Ah, but you gotta be careful of what you wish for. Expedient happiness is always scarred with treachery.

The Silver Coin opens in 1978, and a disco inferno has consumed Ryan's rock band. His savage guitar-string assaults are no longer in fashion, and the clubs refuse to fill when he's on the stage. That is until the titular totem is found within his mom's old things. Suddenly, the sonic scream he produces from his instrument lures an armada to his feet. He's on fire, and nothing will stop him from dominating the charts. Lol. Yeah, right. Chip Zdarsky's doom sits patiently in the shadows.

The second chapter takes us into the woods. It's a few years later, and the setting feels as comfortable as anything found within a Friday the 13th sequel. Young Fiona wants to fit in with the campers she's been saddled with, but teenage battle lines have already been drawn, and she's on the wrong side. Kelly Thompson sets us up for one particular outcome and drags us into a far more nihilistic and sorrowful end. It's a proper slap I was sad to receive but exhilaration sat in the shock.

From there, The Silver Coin pairs us with home invaders, an apocalyptic future, and a witchy blast from the past that solidifies the horror. As is the nature with all anthology stories, you're going to have your favorites. Some tales will speak to the reader differently than others, but none disappoint, and all work and twist within recognizable sub-genres.

As the demon holding the brush, as well as the letters and the colors (along with Toni Marie Griffin), Michael Walsh unifies everything. His art is moody and soaked in dread. His paneling plays tricks with the reader, leading you down expected pathways only to reveal even more horrible ways of delivering The Silver Coin's many repulsive scenarios. The comic eats its cake and has it too, frolicking in gratuitous violence, but saving some of its nastiest moments for silhouette or offscreen, forcing our imagination to do the dirtiest work.

As writer and artist of the final tale, Walsh supplies The Silver Coin with a somewhat definitive ending. If no more issues were to arrive, I would be deeply satisfied. However, the gang that brought this infernal anthology to life leave us craving more, and thankfully, more is coming. This horrendous playpen awaits additional fiends to supply further karmic excavation, and it's exciting to contemplate how The Silver Coin's mythology will explode from here.

Quickie Review: The Silver Coin is a perfect Halloween confection. Five diverse tales explore multiple realms of horror, crafted by maniacs who certainly wore out the floor in the horror aisles of their local video rental shop. The five chapters feel like a complete package, but we demand several more bites at this poisonous, razor-pitted apple. 9/10



The Silver Coin

Writers: Ed Brisson, Jeff Lemire, Kelly Thompson, Michael Walsh, & Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Michael Walsh

Colorist: Michael Walsh & Toni Marie Griffin

Letterer: Michael Walsh

On Sale: Now!

Synopsis: The story starts with a failing rock band whose fortune changes overnight when they find the mysterious Silver Coin. Next, it helps handle some mean girls at sleep-away camp. Follow the curious token as it changes hands over centuries—from Puritan New England to the scavenged junklands of 2467—and discover how much pain a cursed coin can purchase.

Eisner-winning artist MICHAEL WALSH (Star Wars, Black Hammer/Justice League) teams with all-star collaborators—CHIP ZDARSKY (STILLWATER), KELLY THOMPSON (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), ED BRISSON (Old Man Logan), and JEFF LEMIRE (GIDEON FALLS)—on this new ONGOING horror anthology series for mature readers.


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