Welcome to another edition of Fun-Size Roundtable. I’m your host Reagan Anick and tonight we’ll be continuing our marathon of The Silver Coin series as we discuss the third instalment, Death Rattle. Writer Ed Brisson captures the aftermath of a botched home invasion as this stunning series from Director and Cinematographer Michael Walsh expands its mythology and raises more questions about where the titular coin came from, and what it wants.
So gather round kiddos and don’t get too spooked as our ghastly panel of ghouls takes the plunge into The Silver Coin 3: Death Rattle by Michael Walsh, Ed Brisson and Toni Marie Griffin.
Two main appeals keep drawing me back to the Silver Coin anthology series: Reading comics in the horror genre and reading self-contained stories. On the other hand, unifying elements connecting each issue to one another have become increasingly transparent. Fire, a sign that reads “Camp Serenity,” and a clever throwaway line about the home invasion victim being “deader than disco” call back to the first two Silver Coin issues. Essential, though, is the raven’s return. The raven acts as a recurring motif, but makes its presence prominent in this issue. The cover alone alerts readers to the bird’s significance, featuring the raven holding a detached eyeball in its beak. Walsh illustrates the raven with a technique that adds to its ethereal imagery. Hauntingly, the raven appears on the page as if it is smeared sometimes, dripping with tones of black like an illusive omen. Notably, the raven interacts with the story’s events for the first time. Instead of merely patronizing background scenes, the bird comes in direct contact with the humans several times. Along with the silver coin, are we to question whether the raven additionally has an influence on the story? Can we attribute cause to the coin and the raven?
Building off the idea of motivating sway over the plot, I also noticed fascinating implications about the silver coin itself. The Silver Coin #3 not only hearkens back tonally and stylistically to the first issue, but also narratively. The issue adds layers of lore to the coin’s mysterious existence. Witnessing a physical entity beckoning to the coin’s wielder, and ultimately, destroying her, invites readers to consider an orchestrating hand behind the cursed artifact. Undoubtedly, this issue raises questions and stakes I can’t wait to traverse throughout this horrifically gratifying series.
I love horror and the classic anthology format, so The Silver Coin is a natural blend of my favorite genre staples. Much like the forgotten ABC television series Gun, the object of desire and dread in the title leads to crackerjack story ideas. The tie-in from the first issue with the now-deceased firefighter is fascinating and makes me wonder if a future story will tell his tale. In the meantime, the story of the three home-invading youths fills the void. The pacing of this one is an improvement on the previous issue. This time around, it appears the author felt more confident in where the story was headed. Despite the standard short-page count, the characterizations delivered on giving the three their own distinct moral codes. I enjoyed the irony of Lisa, the most conflicted member of the gang going the most berserk. In her coin-hypnotized state, her rampage is sudden and horrifying. Engulfed in flames the moment she realizes what happens serves as the perfect sucker punch for the reader. I loved the color palette in this issue. The cool blues and purples of the city landscapes contrasted with the burning-bright oranges of the fire sequences. The fire imagery itself connects us with the previous owner and also leads us to an important new figure in the storytelling at the climax. I hope the series continues to build the subtle and mysterious mythology that ties these various misfits together.
I have wanted to pick this title up for a bit but haven’t found the time. I feel like I lifted that coin because I am entirely consumed by this story. Michael Walsh is a god damn powerhouse whirlwind of talent. His style has a distinct grit to it. The feeling is moody and dark in a way that makes me feel like that perhaps I am not supposed to be seeing this. That’s the way I want to feel when consuming horror, that I’m an outsider watching something like this occur. His lettering is superb for this story being told by Brisson. The strength comes from it being an anthology series in my opinion. Having small contained stories allows you to give that rush every issue while being able to start fresh next month. Despite the spooky nature of it all, there were a few panels that made me laugh like the “Kaw yourself”. I absolutely loved this issue and am adding the whole thing to my pull.
Michael Walsh continues to create stunningly creepy visuals for this series, be it a full page of a house fully engulfed in flames with a single person silhouetted in the center of the page or the look and glow on Lisa’s face as she first stares at the coin and hears the mysterious voice call her name for the first time. The gray-blue colors of the majority of the panels work to complement the mood of dread, and the decision to set this story during a snowstorm is an inspired one as it makes the pinkish-red of the police sirens glow and SFX invade those panels in an unsettling way.
Ed Brisson is on board for this installment and he confidently tells this story of the aftermath of a home invasion. The callbacks to the first story are apparent, but I was so engrossed in the characters I didn’t recognize them at first. Brisson’s ability to tell us the type of people Lisa, Vic, and Bobby are in a few opening panels serves the story well as we build up to their brutal demise. The story builds to a terrifying conclusion and a tantalizing glimpse of a force behind the curse of the coin as Brisson and Walsh pack in the horror elements. This is another excellent issue in this series and I’m excited and scared to see what is next.