Coffin Kids #2

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Coffin Kids #2 Creator(s): Roslyn T. Amparo and Previn Wong
Publishers: Necroscope LLC
From: USA
Price: US $2.95

If the first part of ‘Coffin Kids’ effectively set up an interesting narrative mystery and somewhat ghoulish atmosphere then this second edition just as effectively develops individual characterization and the relationships between the three main players in this urban tale of dastardly deeds done to the recently [and not yet quite] dead.

This development of the relationship between the older Smoke and the younger Reaper is the high point of this comic. Both have ‘special’ powers that they struggle to come to terms with. Both have had lives blighted with tragedy and as a result both have quite a cynical outlook on life. Both are street wise and exist on the periphery of the city that they live in, preferring to dwell in the shadows rather than face the full glare of city life. Both are united through the death of Smoke’s young brother, ‘Benny,’ and both want to solve the mystery of his death. The fact that Smoke wants to work alone means that the relationship that does develop is a tense one.

Into this mix the creators have introduced a female character, Eva, an Asian angel of mercy type figure.

The relationship between her and the two young men stretches credibility a little as she comes from a privileged background and is from the ‘right side of the tracks,’ so to speak. What does connect the three of them is that she too has special powers.

All of this is very convincing and I was impressed by the way Amparo and Wong manage to spend time developing the characters but still keep the plot moving along at a nice pace.

My major concern though is that this is a three part story arc. By the end of the second part we have a mystery that continues to deepen and seems quite complex, we have the development of some interesting relationships and we have a considerable amount of questions that still need answering. In short we have the basis for a really good storyline firmly established. I do not see how all of that is going to be satisfactorily resolved in the final part. I fear that after some careful exposition the climax and resolution will be rushed and all the good ground work done in the first two parts will be destroyed. I hope that I am proved wrong and I will certainly read the final part with interest to see just how the narrative is resolved.

This edition carries on with the distinctive ‘look’ established in the opening chapter. Heavy use of dark greys and grey tones. Visually Smoke’s dream is probably the highpoint here. I do still have concerns about some variation in body proportions that do tend to mean characters height seems to vary quite noticeably. Oh and the fact that Eva lives in a house that looks very similar to the one Norman Bates inhabited in ‘Psycho’ was a bit of a worry too, not helped by the fact that the word 'psycho’ is used frequently throughout the comic.

I do admire the way the writers have used Reaper’s ability to slip in and out of street slang as a way of developing him as a real person and not just another wise ass punk. In the same way I also admire their ability to weave social issues [Racism, poverty] through the narrative.

Three young people struggling with their powers and getting involved in a macabre series of events that they have little understanding of. Now that’s not a bad premise to base a comic on.

In a Word: Pulsating.

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