COFFIN HILL VOLUME 2: DARK ENDEAVOURS / AUTHOR: CAITLIN KITTREDGE / ARTIST: INAKI MIRANDA / PUBLISHER: VERTIGO / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 24TH
When Vertigo cancelled its long-running supernatural detective comic Hellblazer in 2013, it was obvious that they were already planning to fill the gap. Horror stories are one of the mainstays of the comic book world, and the Vertigo label is well placed to promote mature and intelligent tales of the supernatural. Coffin Hill is an attempt to fill in the gap left by Hellblazer and so far, it’s been a bit of a disappointment.
A sleepy New England town is the home of the Coffin family, reputed to be a coven of witches. Our main protagonist is Eve Coffin, a young lady with spooky powers who is well aware that if she doesn’t use them wisely, will end up going utterly crazy. To this end, she joins the police force and almost straight away finds herself working a case that involves supernatural themed serial killings. The plot skips backwards and forwards in time to give us a perspective as to exactly how bad Eve’s life is. Unfortunately, rather than creating a clever and interwoven narrative what we have is a rather confusing mess. When we delve into the mess, all we find is a series of clichés with little substance.
Inaki Miranda’s artwork doesn’t help. It’s all well and good that the Coffins are a family of pretty ladies but when they all look so similar that you have to do a mental double take to work out what is happening next, then that’s not good. It’s a real shame because the art itself is appropriately atmospheric and very pretty, if a little samey.
They are sparks of a really good series here; the whole thing is framed like a TV series and we get a good handle on the action throughout. The world the Kittredge is establishing is an interesting one; it’s simply that there is too much going on too early on. This is the second volume in a series and those who have not read the first book will be utterly lost. Which is fairly lazy; Coffin Hill has not grown so complex that a jumping on point is not possible; it’s simply that one wasn’t written into the tale.
Behind the mess is a solid murder mystery story and with any luck, the series will be able to untangle itself and be more engaging by Volume 3.