There used to be magic in the world. Then a self-proclaimed dark lord destroyed all the magic. A former travelling bard calling himself X and called Sir Hum by others is trying to get his wife back from one of the warlord gangs running rampant across the world. Hum finds a settlement in a fortress called Ridgetown. There, he seeks the next step back to get back his wife.
Coda fuses the seemingly disparate genres of post-apocalypse and fantasy to create a cynical adventure comedy that seeks to both riff on the tropes of fantasy while doing something new with all of it.
Long story short, this one is damn good.
Hum is an embittered man who is willing to double cross anyone and everyone to see his wife again. On the way he finds people either clinging to the old ways or trying to screw others themselves. The assortment of characters is interesting and entertaining in equal measure.
While the world of Coda is unique, it does draw attention to the fact that fantasy and post-apocalyptic tales do have similar components. They pair the familiar with the unfamiliar; towns and villages are set aside vast expanses of wilderness fraught with threats and bandits. This compatibility is likely one of the things that makes Coda so good.
The pacing can lag at times, especially when Hum makes it to Ridgetown and meets its mayor. Thankfully, the story flows smoothly once again not long afterwards.
Matias Bergara's artwork is distinct and appealing. The world of Coda is unique in both concept and execution, and Bergara's artwork both helps create and perpetuate the atmosphere of this decimated fantasy world. The color work, with assistance by Michael Doig, is subtle but serves to further paint the sickness of the world. That said, the colors can get appealingly wild when the need calls.
Coda #1 invites you to a cruel and decaying world with a cynical and duplicitous hero. That said, Sir Hum is compelling and interesting, and the world seems like it could only get more engrossing from here. Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara knocked it out of the park with this comic. Give it a read.