By Dustin Cabeal
Sometimes when I support Kickstarters, I fall in love with the art before I read what the story is about. In this case, I didn’t pay any attention to what the story for Coffin Crushers was because I thought it was about the two dudes on the cover, and it is not.
That’s a good thing though because I was pleased to find it was about a squad of women in mech suits fighting vampires! This first issue sets the stage as one of the dudes from the cover comes riding in on a badass motorcycle, beats down a mech and takes its power supply. It’s quickly revealed that they’re running out of power supplies for their mechs and without the mech’s the stalemate between the human city and the vampires will come to an end as they’ll be overpowered and crushed.
We’re introduced to the team which is made up of three women that work with each other and two people joining the team for the first time. One of them is an “outsider” in that she lives outside the city and has made her own mech. It’s a two-seater, so we get some Exo-Squad action with two people trusting each other with their lives. The last newbie is an overly religious member that might put her religious duties above her duties as a soldier. They’re going to make the first strike behind enemy lines in 250 years, making it a dangerous and new mission.
The writing is solid. The characters each have a unique voice; they’re relatable and realistic given the fantasy setting. The character that’s supposed to be annoying is very annoying, and everyone else is likable or tolerable. There’s personality in the storytelling; it’s not all grim, and danger as the characters banter even while getting their brief. The commanding officer isn’t a stereotypical jerk or anything either, but instead, it’s like a group of friends working with each other. The pacing was steady, but the ending of the first issue could have had a better spot. There’s a spot of action and then a lot of bickering and then a small mystery. It's not bad, but it could have used some more of its charm at the end to make you want to come back for another issue.
As for the artwork, well it was what drew me to the series. It’s very anime/manga inspired, but with a European feel to it. The rustic mechs, the thick linework. It’s a solid combination of styles and very memorable. Strangely enough, the coloring inside the issue is better than that of the cover. Usually, that’s flipped. The coloring is vibrant and gorgeous. It makes the artwork shine and steals the stage at the same time. The story is light on action, but the settings and scenery make up for it. It’s a complete feeling fantasy world that could easily be animated or put into a video game. Stories and artwork that transcend like that are always a treat.
I’m very glad that I supported Coffin Crushers. It wasn’t what I thought the story would be but ended up being way better than my imagination came up with. It’s not the same boring vampire story so don’t worry about that. If anything, the vampires are underdeveloped at the moment, but that’s okay given the cast we need to spend time with. While I don’t have a clear idea of where this story is heading, I’m intrigued and will be back for more.
Coffin Crushers #1