Strategies at Cross-Purposes in Coda 6

by Drew Baumgartner

Coda 6

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I think it’s fair to say that Coda is set in a particularly fantastical world. Beyond the trappings of magical beings and beasts, the characters themselves recognize that they’re in a kind of mythical world that almost fetishizes heroic virtues of bravery and self-sacrifice. Which makes the cowardly pragmatism of our protagonist a distinguishing characteristic. He’s not an idealist willing to die in the battle against evil — he’s just a guy who wants to settle down for a quiet life with his wife somewhere. In pulling away from heroism, Hum forces us to reexamine the assumptions we have about what it means to be a hero, and what it means to not be one. It’s a subject Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara have been playing with since the first issue, but one that comes to the fore in issue 6, as Hum argues his position with Serka. Continue reading

Misplaced Trust in Coda 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Coda 2

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. Continue reading

Conscience as a Bug and as a Feature in Coda 1

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s little point in being nice to people unless the act of being kind itself brings you happiness. Rude people are not unhappy — not categorically, anyway — because they don’t care that they’re rude, and there’s an undeniable freedom in not caring. Having a conscience is arguably a bug as well as a feature, since it’s easier to achieve your goals if you don’t care about the people you hurt in your pursuit of them.

In Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda 1, former bard Hum is determined to rescue his wife from a clan of savage orc-like creatures at the cost of everything and everyone else; as the issue closes he’s willing to potentially sacrifice the population of an entire city if it gets him one step closer to her. But it’s clear that Hum’s selfishness can’t last, and Coda is poised to be a series about one man in a terrible situation learning to put others above himself. Continue reading