The Silver Coin # 1 : The Ticket
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
LInes, Colors and Letters by: Michael Walsh
I found it “coin”cidental to be reviewing Image Comics new series The Silver Coin during this season. For the unaware, now is considered to be “Eastertide”, a celebration of death and resurrection. Within that event there is also a barter and a betrayal - A story of submission paid in silver. In this issue titled “The Ticket,” Chip Zdarsky and Michael Walsh give readers an introduction of what to expect from this anthology supernatural series. By the issues end, I was left pondering the question “What does it benefit a man to gain the world…?”
Very little fails to resonate with me in terms of this initial issue. Probably a good thing since this particular tale deals with music and a rock band. Ryan, the lead singer of Running Red, is so over his town. Bandmates Ashley and Joe seem content, which if you’re anything like Ryan, you know doesn’t help at all. Zdarsky does an amazing job amplifying Ryan’s frustrations so that we feel them. His rock is just as good as their disco; he is just as good as they are…who hasn’t sung that ballad?
Luck comes for Ryan not as a penny but as a silver coin. Ryan discovers this mysterious item amongst other items cast out by his mom, much like Ryan himself. Using the coin as a guitar pick Ryan soon discovers he is playing better than he ever has before. It doesn’t take long for Ryan to discover this isn’t just a coin but as the title suggests it’s his ticket. His ticket out of town.
The term for a song sung without accompaniment is acapella. Michael Walsh is ready to keep this comic from just being a book. This issue takes place in 1978, although solicitations suggest the coin’s tale might not be linear from there. Understanding the times and the theme, I was amazed by how well the artist captured them both perfectly. The lines and lighting of the scenes in the Dirty Eagle are reminders of a good dive bar. Ryan’s descent into darkness is captured in clear tonal transitions. Early on, his appearance mimics Joe and Ashley’s dazed and confused relaxed look. Unfortunately, that changes as the coin begins to exact it’s cost.
I was a bit bothered initially by how abruptly the issue ended. Throughout the story, the refrain remains the same for Ryan - maybe you’ve sung it too…I have. It goes - I’m good enough. Unfortunately, for Ryan despite how well he played it was clear from the opening lines this was his only solo. Wagering ones soul for success rarely goes well. By the issues end, all the effort Ryan put in and effort to make the reader feel his struggle is for nothing. I just didn’t get it.
This is why I like to read comics. Press replay. Easily missed in the melody is a bunch of clues about the mysterious “silver coin”. As I mentioned, we learn that at some point the coin belonged to Ryan’s mother. This made me wonder if this was a type of “generational curse”. My hope is a future issue of this anthology takes us a decade or two back to see how his mother fared and what it had to do with her fate. I noticed as Ryan makes what I assume is his first “offering” to the coin a bird just so happens to time its flight just right. The silhouette the two make seems a bit familiar. Familiar too is the visage Walsh seems to be illustrating when Ryan is shown holding the coin up to his eye. It’s as if he is all seeing, looking into the future.
I’m not certain how much Image Comics Silver Coin delves into the dealings of this particular religions “father” but I’m sure the power of the coin suggests some “god” is at play. This issue proves it by asking that question that has been posed to man throughout history “What’s it worth to you?”