13 Coins is a story with religious themes, angels, demons, half-breeds, politicians, and a lot of chips on some shoulders. Of course coins; cannot forget the 13 coins that are a part of the story. What’s not to love in all of that?!

We follow John Pozner, a young man who just keeps getting bad hands of life dealt to him. First he can’t go pro in the NBA, he has to watch is girlfriend die in front of him, and he gets dragged into a mankind long struggle against the Fallen that have rebelled against God. To top it all off, as John is getting swept up on all of this chaos, he finds out that he is a First-Born, a direct descendant of a True-Blood –which about as close as you can get to a walking angel in human skin– that can essentially bring about the end of days. No pressure there.

The story in 13 Coins unfolds in three acts, which make it easy to follow and keeps up on who’s who and where attention should be drawn.

Act one:

We get the setup of what the opposing forces are in the story and why the conflict is present. The leader of the Fallen, Semyaza, has been bound by chains and hidden somewhere on Earth. No demon or other Fallen can even release him, but an angel –or something close to it, such as a First-Born– can. 13 of the Fallen that attempted to free Semyaza, and each managed to take with them a single chain link. These links were turned into 13 coins (yeah, now you were where the title comes from) that are infused with the malice of Semyaza. The coins are key in that should a True-Blood touch them, the prison of Semyaza will be revealed and then it is fire and brimstone time.

After the general setup, John meets Samuel Goodwin, a Son of Noah (S.O.N.) that teaches him about his origins, what a First-Born is, a S.O.N., the Fallen, secret gifts, and where all monsters of myth originate from. Yet for all the Samuel divulges to John, he hides just as much. Trust in a difficult thing to gain in this world and when you have blades made from the armor or angels and a lot of guns… Let’s just say that you are not always too quick to use words. The body count in act one gets racked-up fairly high. As a result, it becomes a bit confusing to know who is who and why is everyone just shooting at each other or constantly on edge. Eventually we find out, but I personally almost gave up on act one. It just seemed a bit too disjointed and lacking proper focus.

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Act two:

The events of the previous act all seemingly come together. We get a bit more information on what the overarching plot of the Fallen is in terms of use of the coins, political influence, and how they want to manipulate the First-Born. John tries to stow his temper to train and become a proper warrior, but he is constantly being threatened with death by his own allies. His. Own. Allies. At this point, we are constantly reminded that John has a huge target on his back and everyone wants him dead or at least lame. We get what is close to a training montage and some interesting fight sequences. A lot more bloodshed and some hard grunts for good measure. The macho role is taken up pretty much by everyone. This becomes tiring and over done. If these were the ’80s and this was a setup for an action film, then every necessary mark has been hit.

Growing pains

There it is.

Act three:

Here we reach the stunning conclusion of 13 Coins. John has not fully come into his powers as a First-Born and has gotten his resolve to foil the plot of the Fallen and avenge the murder of his love. Did I forget to mention he had a lady that died in the first act? Well, he does and he mentions it a few times prior to act three. There is betrayal within the S.O.N.s, a big boss fight, selfish attempts as regaining what was once lost, and even the death of the President of the United States of America. A lot gets thrown into the last act. We are even treated to a bit of a cliffhanger. After everything we have read up to this point, we still have not gained the closure we so desperately need. Yet this is where a follow-up series might come into play.

Now that we have done a brief summary of the three acts, let’s talk about the art of Simon Bisley. Bisley makes each character uniquely defined and identifiable. None of the characters had a deadeye look that made them come off are just interchangeable husk with a different hair style. It took a few pages to get accustomed to the art style, but that was a fast readjust. The writing of Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson was easy to follow and the story had a formula that was not convoluted or so far off the rails that you would just lose interest.

My biggest issue is the lack of character development for anyone that isn’t John. While the story is focused on John, I just never really felt there was a really vital need for the others. They all seemed like throwaway pieces in the end. Trying to have any emotional connection to the characters that made up 13 Coins fell rather flat for me. If a little more time was focused on others, then the story would have a bit more lingering value.

Final Impressions:                                                

13 Coins is an interesting story with a lot of religious themes and influences from Titan Comics. The art and overall storytelling are on point to make things worthwhile. There could have been more character development for just about everyone but the main character. Without the character building and crafting, we are mostly left with a lot of people with mean-mugging faces and big talk. Is this a memorable title? Not necessarily. Is it a good way to pass an afternoon by? Yes it is. Should a follow-up series be done, then I am hoping that more character growth development occurs because there are a lot of mature themes and notes hit here that are going flat too soon.

If you want to pick up 13 Coins, do so from the following outlets:
Comixology, TFAW, My Comic Shop, G-Mart Comic Books and Comic Shop Locator

Overall Score
80 %

A non-stop ride of monsters and angst.

Story 85%
Character Development 60%
Art 90%
Pacing 85%

About The Author

Blake writes reviews for DestroyTheCyborg! on all manner of fun and geeky things. He is a unique mixture of snark and sarcasm sprinkled atop an extensive knowledge of pop culture, particularly in the way of comics, music, and literature. He has amassed a collection of books and comics large enough to land him a starring role in an episode of "Hoarders" and often requiring a trip to close out furniture stores for yet another bookshelf to house them all. But with all that collecting comes knowledge…of damn near every character or story arc in all things comic related (even the stuff he hasn't read... at all). Seriously, just ask him. When he's not writing reviews or reading comics, usually he can be found with his other love, music, particularly of the jazz and blues variety. Or regaling those around him with completely random yet super detailed stories or factoids picked up from god only knows where.

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