All eyes have been patiently on Vertigo comics since the departure of executive editor Karen Berger, arguably one of the most important women in comics.
With Shelly Bond replacing Berger at the wheel, the comics world waited with bated breath to see if the DC imprint could live up to its former reputation of providing dark, gritty, and challenging comic titles to a mature audience.
Coffin Hill is one of the first glimpses into the brand new output of Vertigo, and if this book is anything to go by, then readers will be intrigued by the new era.
Eve Coffin is rich and spoiled, and her family has ties to something dark, disturbing, and evil. Although of course that could just be the teenage angst talking.Our protagonist, Eve Coffin, is somewhat of a mystery. Through a series of flashbacks and a non-linear narrative, we see all facets of her life, yet don’t ever really get to know her in this début issue.
In the present day, Eve is a junior police officer who, having just captured a prominent serial killer, receives a serious gunshot wound in her own home.
We then flash back ten years previously to Eve’s teenage years, where Eve resembles a spiker and more bratty version of Nancy from The Craft, complete with eyeliner and DMs.
Eve Coffin is rich and spoiled, and her family has ties to something dark, disturbing, and evil. Although of course that could just be the teenage angst talking.
After crashing a family party and stealing a secret and evil-looking book, Eve and her friends head to the woods to raise the witch of coffin hill, a local legend thought to be a long lost ancestor of Eve’s.
Inaki Miranda and Eva De La Cruz’s art really comes into play during this ritual. As the teens awake from the ritual, blood soaked and with their friend missing, the contrasting colours create a dark eerie unreal quality, a sign that something has gone deeply wrong.
The single close up panel of Eve’s friend in this aftermath is haunting as Miranda’s art captures beautifully the disturbing darkness we have yet to learn about.
As the sequence ends with a blank panel shrouded in darkness this flashback comes to an abrupt end and the details of what happened that night are a complete mystery.
Kittredge made the leap from YA fiction to comics, having great success with series such as Nocturne City and Black London. It would be easy to dismiss this title as nothing more than a gothic YA comic, but readers of Vertigo will hopefully see the depth of storytelling and will be hooked as each page offers more intrigue and and so few answers.
With so many secrets yet to be shared, it’s difficult to unravel this début issue, and the formatting of the non-linear narrative is often a little difficult to unpick.
While some might put this down to the author’s lack of experience within comics, this might also be a narrative ploy. Perhaps there are things the reader is not yet meant to understand.
Coffin Hill is a fantastic début by Caitlin Kitteridge and a wonderful indication of what is yet to come from Vertigo comics. Inaki Miranda and Eva De La Cruz equally provide striking art and colours, with shattered panels and a bleak palette, creating a dark eerie atmosphere.
Coffin Hill #2 is available in comic shops 13th November and I’m sure the mysteries of Coffin Hill are only just beginning to unravel.