It’s been a while since we last saw Coffin Hill, hasn’t it? Yeah, I know the last issue was in December, but the last real issue where we had plot was all the way back in November.
We’re beginning the third arc of the series now, so hopefully things pick up. Is it good?
Coffin Hill #15 (Vertigo Comics)
An evil ancestor of the Coffin Family, a powerful witch named Emma, is back and trying to destroy the life of Eve (because apparently she has a name similar to her daughter who screwed her over in the past) and possibly screw over the entire town for killing her when she was still alive. Meanwhile, a body is uncovered in the woods outside of Coffin Hill and a clue discovered from it may lead all the way back to a serial killing way back in the ’60s/’70s. So yeah, life is continuing to stink for the residents of this quiet town.
To start things off, Coffin Hill #15 had a very nice and useful opening recap page to fill in the audience about everything that has happened up until this point. Nothing too detailed, but enough to fill in some blanks. However, there is a problem with that and this issue in general. For the start of a new story arc, this issue was just okay in general and the main storyline in general, with Emma, is strangely not built up all that well.
Despite that handy recap the whole Emma storyline feels like it came right out of nowhere. We never really built up this new threat before or gave any hint to her existence in the past, so when she appeared at the end of the last issue, it was just kind of random. Then this issue tries to explain who she is and what her goals are and unfortunately, things still feel very vague. She’s not a particularly well built up character, her motivations feel vague even after all the explanation, and she’s not really all that interesting at this point. Things can improve, but this issue really doesn’t do a good job with making us care.
On the flipside, what does save the comic is the second story, with the police investigating an old body that has been discovered. This story ties us back into the previous one-shots we’ve gotten at the end of each story arc in various ways, which I do like. The mystery is generally interesting and makes you curious about what happened. The arc also offers up great development for some side characters, like Eve’s mom and Officer Wilcox, who have been appearing briefly now and again in the series. I’m really intrigued in seeing how the story all comes together and where it will be going, because it really shows a lot of potential.
As for the writing by Caitlin Kittredge, it’s perfectly fine overall. The dialogue and narration are alright, though oddly vague in some areas. The characterization and minor development going on is actually pretty good, especially when we see more of Eve’s mom. The pacing and structure are okay for the most part, but they seem rushed in areas, as if Kittredge is trying to get storylines to a certain point instead of naturally developing them over time. Horror-wise, not much really happened or was all that scary, so that’s disappointing.
The artwork by Inaki Miranda is good though and does work. The layouts are decent and easy enough to follow (though I still don’t get the point of the two page spread that has to be read on its side), the characters look fine and there’s no real problem with them at all, the coloring is decent and helps with a lot of the moody-looking dream sequences we get, and the supernatural and horror elements are depicted well. There really hasn’t been much of a change in the quality of the artwork, which is just fine since there really isn’t a problem here with the visuals.
Is It Good?
Coffin Hill #15 is a decent start to the new story arc for the series. It has one storyline that hasn’t been built up that well with an uninteresting villain to boot; the storyline is rather intriguing and shows a lot of potential to develop the side characters however, so there is that. I’m very mixed on this issue, but I am still interested in seeing where the comic will take the audience. Hopefully it’s somewhere nice and spooky.