Writer: Caitlin Kittredge
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Cover Artist: Dave Johnson
Variant Cover: Gene Ha
Lettering: Travis Lanham
Colors: Eva De la Cruz
I’m the type of reader that will buy anything that Vertigo puts out, whether I’ve heard of the creators or not. For me, Vertigo is one of the best publishers in the world of comic books. So when I saw the solicitation from writer Caitlin Kittredge and artist Inaki Miranda for their new series Coffin Hill, I was immediately intrigued. Who doesn’t love a good mystery story, and if there’s one thing that Vertigo does well is mystery stories.
The story follows Eve Coffin in two distinct stages of her life: first as a police officer in 2013, then as a teenager courting trouble of the supernatural kind in 2003. Eve’s teen years are sandwiched between segments of her present day story, which contributes to a narrative disconnect that keeps the reading experience from being as fluid as it could be. Unfortunately it’s a gamble that doesn’t quite pay off, but the jumps in time aren’t as problematic as the plot holes left in their wake. The disjointed structure makes a certain amount of sense, but it does put a bit of distance between reader and protagonist.
In the present day the story takes place after a three month manhunt for a serial killer known as The Ice Fischer. Eve, being a rookie Boston PD officer, stumbles across the killer and manages to make the arrest thrusting herself into the spotlight. That brings a great deal of unwanted attention towards her, and it makes her very uncomfortable. Will people start digging into her past and the mysteries that surround her cursed family?
In Eve’s past we’re given a glimpse of her socialite family, which comes from old money and even older suspicions. We get a hint that Eve and her family are cursed with the power to cast spells, but at a cost of life. After a night of debauchery and witchcraft in the forest with a couple friends, Eve and a friend wake up covered in blood, surrounded by dead animals. What has happened to her other friend, and more importantly what will the repercussions be?
Kittredge’s writing doesn’t muddle up the introduction with too much information, but you still get a definite sense as to who Eve is. A number of clues are left to give thought as to what may have happened to Eve and her friends that pushed her to where she is today. The only issue I really had, which was previously mentioned, was the cutting back and forth between time periods, it felt off.
Having already seen his artwork in Fairest, I have to admit that I’m not all that fond of Miranda’s style. It’s not bad, but at times it looks a little disjointed. On one page alone the was a scene that included Eve’s father, and in three different panels he had three different looks. If you’re not paying attention you wouldn’t realize that it was the same person. It was disappointing, because the story is good and deserves a bit better visual interpretation.
Overall, Coffin Hill isn’t bad. The story is rather good, it just has a few issues regarding the pacing and the visuals. Is this a masterpiece? No, nowhere near it, but is it a failure? No. I’m sure once we get going the story will find its legs and present itself in a more fluid manner. If it doesn’t then it will be a rare occasion that I drop a Vertigo title.