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Review: ’13 Coins’ A New Digital Comic Experience

From the game writers that brought you Hitman: Absolution comes an exciting and new eComics experience designed to revolutionize visual effects and interactivity through an inventive application created for smartphones. Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson, and Simon Bisley’s “13 Coins” is the first comic to be published by Corinthian Productions, and the first to be developed with Inlifesize’s digital comics platform “Deep Paper” for the iPhone and iPad. This innovative technology boasts a remarkable display feature that utilizes an impressive 3D graphics engine to produce an array of visually engaging 3D covers for the series, and is ultimately transforming, and redefining, the face of digital comics as we know it.

WRITTEN BY: Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson
ART BY: Simon Bisley
PUBLISHER: Corinthian Productions
PRICE: #1 is FREE, $2.99 to follow
RELEASE: October 24, 2013

“13 Coins” is a heavily mythologized 6-issue horror comic which offers an incredibly extensive “Good vs. Evil” back story involving two warring angel factions. The first call themselves The Fallen, a group of 13 rebel angels who had escaped Hell only to create an army of evil to orchestrate a full-fledged attack on Heaven. The second are referred to as The Sons of Noah, created by a warrior angel sent from God, for the sole purpose of expanding the S.O.N bloodline over the centuries in order to protect humankind from The Fallen and all their descendants. This fictionalized historical setting coalesces with a modern narrative which follows a once promising basketball star — now turned ex-con — named John Pozner, who inadvertently becomes entrenched in the fight for Earth’s protection and Heaven’s downfall.

The official website for the series provides a thorough rundown on the established mythology, and presents a solid list of main characters along with detailed biographies on each one. I recommend checking it out. Like most comic books, there appears to be some problematic concerns with race, gender and sexuality, as evidenced through one specific character bio in particular, but overall the characters are super dynamic and extremely interesting. Not only in personality, but design as well. The latter is a testament to Eisner Award winning artist, Simon Bisley, and his creative vision for this entire project.

Bisley’s artwork is a huge elemental factor in regards to the overall visual experience derived from the “13 Coins” app, and a welcomed ingredient to Brennan and Jackson’s narrative. Providing the cover art and pencilled interiors, his take on the writers’ story effectively brings the creators’ vision to life. From the historical war between the Watchers and the rebellious angels, to his detailed interpretations of the cast, his energetically violent style of art really suits the gritty and dark tone of the series well, and helps to establish the accelerated pace of the narrative. Ryan Brown adds his vibrant touch to Bisley’s interior work by digitally painting the issues using a large palette of solid colours.

The visual effects features of the app really allows for the panels to pop through the screen, and that can be attributed to one of Inlifesize’s Chief Executive Officers, Greg Maguire, who is the visual effects and animation guru behind the project. So far, the new “Deep Paper” technology is only being used for the series covers, and not on the interior pages, which is one of the main criticisms I had overall. But in an interview with Pipedream Comics, Jackson states that the creative team plans to develop the 3D graphics engine features on the interior pages for the release of the next “13 Coins” series, which is a fantastic decision on their part.

Another issue many people had with the “13 Coins” app was the lack of pinch and zoom navigation features offered within the technology, which ultimately devalued the experience on the iPhone. Fortunately, the developers have since updated the app to include said options, and the results were pretty significant. There’s also an ominous score of music and sound to accompany the app, including instances of relevant sound when users are turning pages, but it’s very limited. Personally, I think a stronger element of sound would be beneficial in the future.

At this moment in time, the digital issues are only being released through the “13 Coins” app for the iPhone and iPad, and the first installment is currently being offered for free. In-app purchases for the following installments, as well as various collectors packs are available for $2.99, and issue #4 drops on January 24th. You can download the free app HERE.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – ShadowJayd

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