by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There’s a scene in Coda 1 where our protagonist hesitates to smell the wine he’s just been handed — he knows his host too well to trust them. It’s a revealing moment that also cleverly sets up a spiked wine gag a few pages later, driving home the point that nobody in this world can be trusted, least of all the characters we know. And it’s a point Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara reemphasize towards the start of this issue, revealing their glowing wizard’s tower to be little more than a dank cave. The protagonist’s senses may be as difficult to fool as ever, but now we have to know not to trust our own eyes. And yet, the rest of the issue lulls us into putting our guards down, allowing us to believe we’ve found a refuge from the violence and deceit of the outside world. Which makes it all the more shocking when we learn all of those assumptions were bad, and that there really is no honesty left in this world.
To be fair, Jenny is an accomplished liar with a hell of an agenda — we just don’t know it yet. She reads our protagonist’s diary, but feigns illiteracy, effectively convincing him that she’s basically guileless. Moreover, she makes a gesture of trusting him, so he responds in kind. And then she maybe sorta saves him from a mutant scorpion? It’s enough to make him think she might have his best interests in mind, after all, even if her attitude with food is decidedly lacking.
Only, she’s not illiterate, and her earning of his trust is just a ruse to hobble him while she goes after Ridgetown’s Ylf. Those are all played out as separate reveals, but the hardest hitting for me is the reveal that mutant scorpions are “not remotely edible,” and that poisoning (though not killing) the pentacorn was a key part of her plan. Her feeding the beast seemed like such a quiet, intimate moment that I was just about ready for these two to get together (whenever Serka is revealed to be long gone), so to find out this was actually a key moment of her deceit is downright heartbreaking. You really can’t trust anyone in the world of Coda, even when you’d most like to.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?