Rating: 3/5 – Series with great potential but poorly paced 1st issue.
Coffin Hill is a series that has a lot of great story ideas and a rich narrative developing, so many ideas that writer Caitlin Kittredge had a hard time getting them down in a fully coherent fashion in this #1 issue. This was an “extra-sized” 24 page issue, but the extra 4 pages were not used to good effect.
We get a couple of disjointed pages from present day 2013 to open the issue, 5 pages that communicated 4 different scenes of action and gave snippets of information we’ll be piecing together over the next several issues, setting us up on who our protagonist Eve Coffin is (we think). We end this on a cliffhanger of sorts.
Kittredge then jumps us to 2003 for a long sequence setting the context for who Eve Coffin WAS, as well as family context and lore about the surroundings in Coffin Hill, MA. We end this sequence on another unresolved (for now) cliffhanger and jump back to 2103 for a couple of pages that will no doubt play into the story as it develops before jumping back to Eve who seems to have had a personality shift (as well as a change to her hair/eyes) since the set-up on pages 4-5.
What we end up with here is a LOT of story elements that will hopefully come together in the long run but as presented in this issue jump around with very visible connective threads but little satisfying payoff. As a self contained issue, this didn’t work for me, but I can see it being a perfect opening 24 pages for a collected edition where the reader will keep turning pages and see these story elements continue to tie together. Kittredge has not yet mastered the art of telling a story that works equally well for monthly readers AND the readers who will consume this in the collected edition.
Story continuity issues aside, he art by Inaki Miranda is fabulous, displaying a really nice mesh with the darker undertones of the story as well as selecting some striking visuals to emphasize in key pages/panels.
I’m looking forward to seeing this story develop, there is a LOT here to love even though I had some issues with the specific pacing of this first issue. I think this may be a great series to “wait for the trade” and get a complete execution of the first story arc in one read.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – firstname.lastname@example.org
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