Coffin Hill #8 Review

Posted June 16, 2014 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Comic Books

Coffin Hill #8 is an interesting beast. For one, it takes the series in a what seems like a completely new direction. It’s a sharp 180 from the horror that defined the first seven issues of the series, and even the supernatural elements take a back seat to what seems like a straight up crime story in this issue. The issue kicks off with two detectives showing up at a crime scene, after a body was found frozen into the ground, presumably another victim of the Ice Fisher, a killer who seems to have been around for some time, but one that we have not been introduced to. After a few panels of exposition, we find that – surprise surprise – Eve Coffin was one of the police officers at the scene of the crime. Which is good, because Eve Coffin’s character is probably the best part of the book, and her absence in the seventh issue was a notable one. So seeing her here is definitely a positive.

That being said, this issue may have been able to survive off of the new characters that author Caitlin Kittrdege introduces in this issue. The two detectives that make up the Ice Fisher task force, Donovan and Frost. The two – well, more Donovan than Frost – add Eve to the task force, and she discovers a strange symbol on the eyelid of the victim, a girl named Ada Davenport. Once all of this is wrapped up, we return to Coffin Hill, and get the only scene in the entire book that returns to the supernatural aspect of the first story arc. Unfortunately, these scenes, which are interspersed throughout the issue, are the weakest portions of the book. Neither of the two characters, Bianca and Lacey, are particularly interesting, and the only reason that they were interesting before was because of the impact that they had on Eve. On their own, they end up being kind of boring, and even though the supernatural element that dominates these scenes is cool, it only goes so far.

Once we return to Eve’s story however, the book really hits its stride. Kittredge dives full on into the detective portion of the book. Throwing Eve, Donovan, and Frost into the same room with one another allows for some very interesting conversations. They bounce off of one another quite nicely, and the three way dynamic between them is well written, and the three are definitely an interesting group of characters. Whenever they interact with one another, there are always layers to what the three are saying, and there’s definitely a lot of intrigue in the relationship between the three of them.

With pretty much the whole issue centered around Eve taking this detective case, there’s really not much else going on. In many ways, it’s a very standard detective story, but with a few supernatural twists, though those are largely relegated to the backseat while the actual detective work is put front and center. This issue is really a great example of Kittredge’s flexibility as a writer, seeing as she went from writing a horror story to writing a grounded crime story, and doing both pretty well. Inaki Miranda also illustrates her range as an artist here, as the setting completely changes from a small town to a big city. And while it still looks good, the city isn’t characterized as well as Coffin Hill was in the first arc, and not using the setting as its own character is a noticeable downgrade from the first arc.

And then there’s the ending. It seems kind of abrupt, all things considered, and completely unexplained. It seems like something that needed a little bit more explaining. At the end of the day though, this was a great start to a new story arc for Coffin Hill, even though it was taken in a completely different direction.

About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.