Set in a dystopian fantasy world, Coda by Simon Spurrier is a whip-smart adventure from beginning to end. Following the trials and tribulations of Hum, a disgruntled former bard, Coda delves deep into a land affected greatly by The Quench, a cataclysmic event that changed the world forever. With eye-popping illustrations and delightfully dry dialog, Coda is an entertaining read.

Hum wanders throughout the ruined land writing diary entries to the missing wife he’s searching for and generally trying to stay out of trouble. The world he once knew has changed forever after a tragic event and now everyone is under the power of new dark lords who do not allow any new magic. Hum’s search for his wife sends him to Ridgetown. He gets conned into accepting a quest from the town’s mayor and this is where his adventure truly begins. There is something rotten in Ridgetown. Is it tied to The Quench or vice versa? Hum teams up with a rag-tag group of friends and foes alike to try and figure out what’s going on in Ridgetown and hopefully save his wife in the process.

Coda is beautifully illustrated. The artwork is cotton candy colorful and it’s a delight. There are enough fantastical elements in the illustrations to remind the reader that this is not taking place in a normal time and place. The varying creatures and beings in this world are unique and are drawn as such. From a murderous Pentacorn to an Ylf in agony, Matias Bergara’s illustrations are clear, concise, and fun to see. It’s a welcome mix of modern and medieval that enhances the story greatly and easily draws the reader into this high fantasy world.

Coda is a very well-written. The writing is smart and the characters feel real. The dialogue is natural and funny. The added feature of Hum’s diary entries to his wife help guide the reader through the story without it feeling forced. This plot device is perfect for providing the appropriate amount of backstory. Coda is a great example of a story that has a balance between the light and the dark. The humor is a welcome respite to the otherwise dark desperation of a world under tyrannical rule.

Coda is suitable for readers 13+ and will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy. There is some non-gratuitous violence as it relates to the story. Coda is enjoyable for readers of Skottie Young’s Middlewest, Kieron Gillen’s Die: Fantasy, and Christopher Sebela’s Crowded.

Coda, vol. 1
By Simon Spurrier
Art by Matias Bergara
Boom! Studios, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: Teen

  • Krista

    Past Reviewer

    Krista Miller- Ravenclaw, Whovian, and Whedonite- is an Adult Services Librarian at the Poughkeepsie Public Library District in Poughkeepsie, NY where she maintains the Adult Graphic Novel collections and creates adult programming.Her current favorite graphic novels include the Saga series, the Sex Criminal series, and Blankets. Krista credits her years toiling as a bookseller for Barnes and Noble for peaking her interest in graphic novels and librarianship in general. She graduated with her MLIS from SUNY Buffalo in 2017. She hopes to one day host a comic con at her library and to incorporate more pop culture and geeky programming at work. When she is not working as a Punk-Ass Book Jockey, Krista can be found enjoying the local craft beer scene, dancing in the pit at nearby concert venues, and climbing mountains.

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